Officer in viral arrest video returns to work

ESCORTS: A screen grab from a viral video shows police officers escorting a man in handcuffs. The video appears to show one of the officers punching the man in handcuffs. Contributed photo

Guam Police Chief Stephen Ignacio has ordered immediate criminal and administrative investigations into a viral video that appears to show a uniformed officer punching an individual who is handcuffed and in custody.

Ignacio, in a statement issued to the media Tuesday, said the department and its officers must remain “above reproach” in the performance of their duties.

“Since there is an active criminal and administrative investigation, the identities of individuals involved will not be disclosed at this time,” said Ignacio.

The video that circulated on social media shows a man, in handcuffs, being escorted by four police officers to a patrol car. As the suspect was led close to the vehicle, one of the officers appeared to punch the man in the stomach.

The department has not released the identity of the officer or said if any officer has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Police officers must remain "above reproach when performing their duties and responsibilities, in order to maintain the trust and respect from the public," Ignacio said.

'Numerous inquiries'

"The Guam Police Department has received numerous inquiries concerning this video and its contents and has inquired specifically as to the name of the alleged officer."

GPD is trying to determine when the incident occurred.

Ignacio confirmed that no officers have been placed on administrative leave since the department just initiated the investigation.

Sen. Jose "Pedo" Terlaje, whose committee has oversight of public safety agencies, said the video is "very concerning."

"I am happy the chief decided to order both criminal and administrative investigations into this matter and I will allow those investigations to run their course," he said. "I am also confident, however, that under the leadership of Chief Ignacio and the administration, that no one is above the law, and that the rights of all our citizens will be protected at all times."

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