Federal officials are investigating after a deputy U.S. Marshal was caught on video snatching a woman’s phone and smashing it on the ground.
The woman was using the phone to film armed deputies in Los Angeles County when one of the men suddenly rushed her, the 53-second recording revealed.
The burly, bearded deputy tore the phone from the woman’s hands and slammed it on the ground as she tried to scramble away.
“No! Don’t do that!,” the woman screamed.
The unidentified deputy, dressed in a tactical vest and carrying a rifle, appeared to kick something across the ground before he and the others turned and walked off.
The shocking encounter was captured by a stunned witness who was filming from across the street.
“Did you record that?” the woman in the video asked.
The U.S. Marshal Service issued a statement to media outlets, acknowledging the video shows their deputies.
“The U.S. Marshals Service is aware of video footage of an incident that took place Sunday in Los Angeles County involving a Deputy U.S. Marshal,” the statement said. “The agency is currently reviewing the incident.”
The woman was identified on Tuesday as 34-year-old Beatriz Paez by the Los Angeles Times.
She stumbled upon the deputies on Sunday while walking through her neighborhood in South Gate and pulled out her phone to record, she told the paper.
She is heard in the recording telling deputies to keep their distance.
“You are making me feel unsafe,” Paez said. “I have a right to be here. You need to stay away from me.”
The deputies had as many as 10 people lying face down on the grass when Paez arrived, she told the Los Angeles Times.
They began releasing them shortly after she turned on her phone’s video camera, she said.
“It’s our responsibility to take care of each other,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s our constitutional right to film.”
Her lawyer told the paper the deputy smashed the phone’s screen, but they still hoped to recover the video she recorded.
The deputies were part of a task force that crashed a meeting of alleged members of a motorcycle gang, NBC 4 News reported.
Six people were arrested, according to the station.