By their very nature, police brutality videos are horrific. However, a video first shown on KOLD of a Pima County, Arizona Sheriff’s Deputy committing assault is especially appalling. The victim is a quadruple amputee. Yes, a man twice the size of a 15-year-old boy with no arms and legs – and no possible way to defend himself –pins down the teen with his body weight.
The video lasts an excruciating eight minutes, and the victim is heard screaming as he lies stuck face down on the floor of a Tucson group home. Another teenager living in the facility recorded a video. The deputy later pushed that young man’s head into the wall.
Placed on Administrative Leave
The deputy in the video was later identified as Manuel Van Santen, an 11-year veteran of the force. He has since been placed on administrative leave as the department begins an internal affairs investigation.
As well as pinning him down, Van Santen, who is caucasian, is seen on the video holding the African American victim in a headlock. Besides the fact the victim has no limbs, he is also not wearing a shirt, so weapon concealment isn’t a plausible argument.
Abandoned by His Parents
The quadruple amputee’s name is similar to that of his attacker – Immanuel. His last name has not been released to protect his privacy, but officials say he is in state custody because his parents abandoned him.
On September 26, a group home employee called the police because the boy had knocked over a garbage can and was screaming. Once the Pima County Sheriff’s deputy arrived, he determined that Immanuel was “disturbing the peace,” and attempts to restrain him.
Immanuel shrieks at the deputy, telling him not to hold him down. Van Santen begins to let go, and Immanuel tries to escape –but gets nowhere. At that point, the deputy tackles Immanuel and holds him for a full minute while the teen curses and yells.
When Immanuel calms down, Van Santen gets off him, asking him what his problem is and why he kept moving after being informed not to do so. When Immanuel says he doesn’t have a problem, Van Santen gets in his face and swears.
That is when the teen identified as CJ, who is in the next room recording the video, answers for Immanuel. “You asked him a question, he answered,” says CJ. At that point, the deputy and CJ get into an altercation, and Van Santen arrests him. A third teenager takes CJ’s phone and continues recording as CJ is handcuffed. The deputy then slams the head of the teen who is still recording into the wall.
Immanuel and CJ were both put in jail on disorderly conduct charges. Van Santen was not wearing a body camera, but CJ told his public defender about the video he recorded. The video was not released until mid-November.
The public defender, no stranger to terrible crimes, admitted he and some others in his office cried after viewing it. He called the video “especially terrible,” adding “Men with badges should not be acting this way. Men and women who do act this way should not have badges and guns.”
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