Witness describes 'rough arrest' by Pinellas deputies

- It's a shocking and disturbing video. Dash cam footage shows Pinellas County Sheriff's Office deputies repeatedly hitting a suspect. 

The sheriff's office is investigating the violent arrest and now, a woman who witnessed the beating says law enforcement went too far.

Jimarez Reed had cuts on his face and a gash near his eye in his booking photo from the arrest on May 25 in Pinellas Park.

Arrest paperwork says the 25-year-old refused to place his hands on his head, ignored orders to stop running around his car, and Reed grabbed and kicked deputies during the struggle.

Melessa Sanford saw what happened and says she doesn't agree with the report.

"I think anybody can watch the video and see that's not true,” she said. “He was laying there, he wasn't doing anything but laying on the ground."

The audio is muted for most of the 17-minute video clip. Someone at a get-together at Sanford's home called authorities saying Reed had a gun.

"They didn't give him a chance to speak or say anything beyond him yelling... 'Don't shoot me,'" said Sanford.

The video shows deputies punching Reed in the head repeatedly, pulling his head from behind by his hair, putting him in a chokehold, and using handcuffs to hit him. 

At one point, a bystander is allowed to join in.

Sanford says she was paralyzed by fear while she watched, unable to move or make a sound.

"I was just taken back, in a state of shock,” Sanford said. “Like oh my God, what is going on here, this is not happening, like a really bad dream."

Reed was handcuffed and later charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting with and without violence. The sheriff's office tells FOX 13 there is an active internal affairs investigation.

Reed's attorney, Michele Rayner says the deputies’ actions were completely uncalled for and wants them fired.

"Had it been a white man at my house I think things may have been handled differently," said Sanford.

She says the dash cam video only shows part of what happened. Rayner is looking into that and wants to see every video from that night.

According to online court records, Reed was arrested earlier this week in Hillsborough County for drug charges and resisting officers.

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