VIDEO: Deputy Accused Of Excessive Force For Punching Man In Fight

Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Devitt delivered several strikes to Mohamed Sayem's head during the scuffle.

Stanton, CA – An Orange County sheriff’s deputy is being accused of "excessive force" after he was recorded delivering several strikes to a combative man’s head.

Now, his department has fired back, saying he “used force appropriate for the situation" (video below).

The incident occurred on Aug. 19, after a concerned citizen asked deputies to check on a man sleeping in a car behind the Corner Pocket bar, KCBS reported.

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies Eric Ota and Michael Devitt located the intoxicated man, later identified as Mohamed Sayem, sleeping in a Jeep, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The deputies woke Sayem and asked him for his identification, but he refused.

Sayem slumped in the driver’s seat, and provided the deputies with “a number of partially understandable answers, statements, and insults – often chuckling and falling in the car as he delivered them,” according to court documents.

“All he’s asking for is your ID, man,” Deputy Ota told Sayem in the video, as Sayem argued with Deputy Devitt and tried to get out of the Jeep.

Deputy Devitt calmly asked the drunken man to remain in his vehicle on several occasions, but Sayem kept one foot outside the door and repeatedly leaned towards the deputy to begin exiting the vehicle.

“Don’t touch me like that,” Sayem suddenly retorted, slapping Deputy Devitt’s hand away from him.

The deputy reached into the vehicle and grabbed on to Sayem, who fell onto the car’s horn during the scuffle.

Although a portion of the altercation was blocked by the vehicle’s frame and open door, the video showed Sayem as he got out of the Jeep and towered over Deputy Devitt.

“I used my left hand and pushed his face in an effort to create some space between us,” Deputy Devitt wrote in a report, according to the Los Angeles Times. “He did not let go of my vest and continued to physically struggle.”

“Due to his aggressive demeanor, and the fact he was already resisting, I believed Sayem was going to continue to try and physically assault me,” the report read.

As Deputy Devitt tried to gain control of Sayem’s left hand, Sayem firmly gripped the steering wheel with his right hand, the video showed.

Deputy Ota ran around the Jeep to help subdue the combative man, just as Deputy Devitt began delivering strikes to Sayem’s head.

After several punches, Sayem released his hold on the steering wheel and fell to the ground, the video showed.

The deputies repeatedly ordered Sayem to place his hands behind his back as they held him face-down on the pavement.

“You gonna shoot me?” Sayem asked them after he’d been placed in handcuffs.

“Nope,” one of the deputies responded.

“Like to,” the other deputy said.

Sayem was charged with felony resisting arrest, and has pleaded not guilty, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“The deputy made every attempt to deescalate the situation and provide the subject multiple opportunities to simply provide his identification,” the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement, according to KCBS.

“The subject refused to do so and attempted to physically engage the deputy, during which the deputy used force appropriate for the situation to gain control of an uncooperative, assaultive and intoxicated person,” the agency said.

But Sayem’s public defender, Scott Sanders, accused the deputies of using excessive force during Sayem’s arrest, and claimed that Deputy Devitt “fictionalized key details,” in his account of what occurred, FOX News reported.

“Don’t create a new false set of facts and then blame it on the defendant,” he told KCBS.

Sanders denied allegations that Sayem tried to push past Deputy Devitt to exit his vehicle, and claimed his client did nothing to justify the force the deputies used during the arrest.

“There should be no punches to the face. He was incredibly intoxicated,” Sanders argued. “There was no reason for force or violence here.”

“He unjustifiably used very significant violence against my client, and he knew he did it without justification,” Sanders told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday. “His answer was to make my client a felon for the rest of his life, so he doesn’t get held accountable for his act of violence.”

The sheriff’s department defended the deputy’s account, and noted that the charges against Sayem were filed by the prosecutor – not the deputy, FOX News reported.

"The deputy's report is consistent with the video in its entirety, and charges were filed by the OC District Attorney's office,” the agency said. “Any assertion otherwise substantially misrepresents the facts, and serves only to swell an anti-law enforcement narrative."

You can watch dashcam footage of the deputies’ encounter with Sayem in the video below:

Comments (54)
No. 1-12
Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

“The deputy made every attempt to deescalate the situation and provide the subject multiple opportunities to simply provide his identification,”

🤣🤣🤣 okay. The man was bothering no one, drunk in his own vehicle.

JBo
JBo

If the idiot didn't want force used against him, he should have complied with the officer's instructions and not grabbed him by his vest. Duh!

ArizonaG30
ArizonaG30

where's Mohamed Sayem's mommy to say he's a nice church going boy?

RmdGRD
RmdGRD

I hate to sound anti- police, and I have over 20 years as a police officer, but I'll hold off for the possibility there's bodycam footage. This appears, just from the video that's been shown, questionable. We've all been in positions like this, so I'll look from a REASONABLE officer's position. Yes he didn't follow directions, and appears several inches taller then the officer, and we all know how drunks actions change rapidly. There's several split second decisions he could have made. One or two punches may have been reasonable, with this. Show the whole video, let me make an educated decision on this, right now it looks very close to crossing that line of excessive. I don't know what's in that officer's mind, or his history on these types of calls. I'm tired of LEO getting all the BAD press, where only the questionable and excessive are ever shown. I agree with others here about what would have happened if action wasn't taken, his drunk ass would have done up and drove home, and may have easily killed someone on the way. If the chief is backing him, which i'm happy to hear, gives credence that the officer acted correctly, and he heard a good chief, not a balless boss.

ReserveDepty3431
ReserveDepty3431

Just another Dindu

Caroparks53
Caroparks53

Cop was un the right. Also who drove him there? Or did he drive drunk? As intoxicated as he was he could have wrecked and injured or killed innocent people. He could have had a gun on his person..unless u r a cop n have walked in cops shoes keep your pity for the drunk to yourself. He deserved what he got..

unholyone
unholyone

I don't see what the problem is here? You're in a fight and you punch your opponent resisting arrest. What should have the deputy done? Leave the guy there trespassing, stalking, or try and investigate and remove a trespasser. I'm so glad I'm retired. The legal profession should be ashamed of themselves-- oops, that's right they have no conscience.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

should be an interesting lawsuit. glad the chief put himself on the hook.

SheepDawg
SheepDawg

Burgers, I may be wrong in assuming that you did not read my prior post to you. My apologies if you did, in fact, read that post. Either way you did not comprehend the message. You are totally uneducated in the Law, police tactics and Court findings. You continue to make yourself look foolish and ignorant. Your arguments fail to contain any semblance of reality and appear to be posted for the sole purpose of disagreement. That, of course, is your right. But a right often times should be kept to yourself. It's a lot like the modified Miranda. Right after "You have the right to remain silent" often is heard "I suggest you use it."

Masterfranky
Masterfranky

At the point the subject started to resist the deputy should have stopped, pulled out his what-to-do handbook, and proceed down the checklist and followed all instructions how to deal with that specific individual.

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

I listened to /viewed the video........and couldn't understand 90% of what this marblesinmouth was sayin.. I hope he was cited for DUII ....driving under the influence of ignorance.

Trumpster
Trumpster

First He is stone drunk behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Then he did nothing the officer asked him to do then is combative.