Video Shows Officer Stopping Colleague from Punching Handcuffed Woman

A Los Angeles police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave after he was caught on video punching a handcuffed woman in the face twice before being stopped by a fellow officer.

The Westminster Police Department officer, who has not been publicly identified, can be seen in the cellphone footage repeatedly striking the woman, who was already handcuffed and on the ground. One of the other two officers involved in the arrest quickly intervenes, pulling the assailant away and eventually forcing his body between the two.

Police told Fox11 Los Angeles that they responded to a 911 call around 4 p.m. on Wednesday. The caller described a "Hispanic female adult assaulting an Asian woman who had tried to rescue a dog running in the street."

Police say the female assailant was identified as Ciomara Garcia, 34, of Westminster, at the scene.

In the video, Garcia can be seen sitting handcuffed on the curbside with two officers holding her arms. They appear to be trying to help her up off the ground before one officer shoves her back down and she kicks him along the way. The officer who was kicked then lands two hard punches on her face as she becomes pinned to the ground, facedown.

One of the other officers can be heard immediately responding, repeating "no," as one kneeling next to the woman sticks out his arm to separate his colleague, who appears to be winding up to deliver another blow, from Garcia.

Another officer standing nearby beings pulling the aggressive officer from behind, dragging him away from the handcuffed woman. The first cop appears to resit, pushing against his co-worker in an apparent attempt to say atop the woman. The co-worker finally succeeds in separating the two when he puts his body between them.

"They just, like, get her up and like they just push her back down," bystander Sandy Armento, who lives in the neighborhood, told CBS L.A. "I think she got hurt so she, like, started obviously being aggressive."

As per Armento, who also recorded the clip, Garcia was walking her dog as she saw a woman on a bicycle approaching. When she got closer, Garcia told her to move because "she was fearful that the biker would run over her dog," reported FOX 11.

Armento added that the bicyclist "took it the wrong way."

"She basically put her fist on her arm but didn't hit her, and that's when the Asian woman left and, like, 20 minutes later, came back with cops and like seven or eight cops showed up," another witness told CBS L.A.

According to the police, they found Garcia on the scene and recognized her as the reported aggressor. However, according to Garcia's brother, Adolpho Rosales, the officers reached their home already searching for his sister and calling her name.

"She's bipolar, she has schizophrenia," Rosales told CBS L.A. "I think they could do a better job since they already have a history with her, they already know her."

Officers chose to handcuff and arrest Garcia when they learned that she had an outstanding felony bench warrant for vandalism. Police said she "became combative with the officers and exhibited signs of being under the influence."

Garcia was taken to the hospital following the incident. There are no injuries, said the department.

She was taken to the Orange County Jail on her outstanding warrant for vandalism and is also being charged with "assault and battery" for her interaction with the Asian woman, "resisting arrest, assault on a police officer and being under the influence of a controlled substance."

The officer who punched Garcia was put on paid administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation.

"The Westminster Police Department is well aware of portions of the video circulating on social media," the department said in a statement, reported CBS L.A. "The Westminster Police Department considers this a serious event and will ensure that this investigation will be guided by the law and the truth."

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Police lights by night - stock photo istock/Getty/Alex_Schmidt