Desert Hot Springs police officer under internal investigation after he was filmed in the midst of a controversial confrontation with a suspect — the video has since gone viral — is no longer employed with the department, officials said.
“All I can say is that officer no longer works for our department,” Desert Hot Springs police Deputy Chief Jim Hanson told The Desert Sun on Friday.
In the July 7 video, the officer can be heard repeatedly telling the suspect of a battery investigation: “Stop mad-dogging me! Stop mad-dogging me!” Desert Hot Springs police Chief Dale Mondary identified the suspect as Joshua Felix.
The officer—whose name has not been released due to the ongoing investigation — can be seen standing very close to the suspect claiming to be a victim of police harassment.
“You haven’t seen harassment yet,” the officer told the suspect.
The situation escalated further when the suspect called the officer a “retard,” which resulted in him being placed in handcuffs. He was released before a formal arrest was made after both sides of the battery case decided not to press charges.
A video of the altercation went viral after it was shared by the hyperpartisan website “Wake Up America,” and it quickly reached close to 900,000 views. Subsequently, the video triggered an internal investigation into the officer’s conduct.
“Contrary to what people are saying on social media, he has not committed a crime,” Mondary said about the officer. At which point, the department continued to investigate whether the officer violated its code of conduct, according to Mondary.
Even though these investigations are not entirely uncommon, the department still takes them very seriously, Mondary said.
“We don’t do them every day, but if we do them, it’s a big deal,” he said.