A felony assault charge has been filed against a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy who was videotaped kicking a pursuit suspect twice in the head after the suspect appeared to surrender in Victorville, the county District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Deputy Corie Smith, 28, was charged with one felony count of assault under the color of authority on Wednesday, court records showed. Smith is accused of assaulting Willie C. Jones in Victorville on June 16.
Smith’s employment status within the Sheriff’s Department was not immediately clear. He was previously placed on paid administrative leave following the incident, the Sheriff’s Department said in June.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Smith had been taken into law enforcement custody.
The June 16 incident started around 12:40 a.m. when a deputy attempted to pull over Jones on his motorcycle for alleged traffic violations, prompting a pursuit. Jones ran several stoplights and then went the wrong way on the 15 Freeway, nearly causing head-on collisions, the Sheriff’s Department.
Jones left the freeway and ditched his bike near a car dealership.
The video, obtained by TMZ, showed Jones emerging from underneath a car before a deputy approached, prompting Jones to surrender. Jones then got on his knees and into a prone position when Smith approached and kicked him in the head twice, the video depicted.
Sheriff Shannon Dicus, then the undersheriff, described the incident as “unfortunate” at a June 18 news conference.
At a July 2 news conference, Jones said jailers pressured him into accepting $4,000 and signing a waiver in which he promised not to sue the county for excessive force prior to him speaking to a lawyer. Jones said he had not cashed the check in July.
It was not immediately clear whether Jones was charged as a result of the pursuit and arrest.
Jones and his attorney, Zulu Ali, filed a claim against the county on July 1 seeking $5 million.