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Fired Police Officer Appeals Termination for Punching 14-Year-Old Boy

A former cop fired for punching a 14-year-old boy in Rancho Cordova, California wants his job back. Brian Fowell has appealed his termination from the Rancho Cordova Police Department, attorney William Creger told The Sacramento Bee.

The firing stems from a April 27 incident in which Fowell can be seen punching the 14-year-old, while pinning him to the ground.

Damarkus Cummings, a friend of the 14-year-old, recorded the incident, and told the officer in the footage to stop. He told ABC 10 his friend got an adult to buy them a Swisher Sweets cigar. Cummings said he felt that Fowell had been observing them. The officer approached and asked for ID, according to this account.

His friend did not tell the truth about about his age, Cummings said. But Cummings also denied that the 14-year-old resisted arrest.

The teen stepped forward as Elijah Tufono. He said that he only pulled back his hand after Fowell tried to handcuff him and did not say why.

“I did lie to him,” he told KTXL two days after the incident. “And I didn’t cooperate. And I know that. And I made that mistake. But that didn’t give him no right to do what he did.”

A professional standards unit determined Fowell used excessive force. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, which contractually provides law enforcement to Rancho Cordova, fired him.

Creger said his client was a great cop with a stellar record.

“He’s just a really, really solid guy,” he said.

The attorney described the punches as “distraction blows.” He said the firing was a surprise. Creger said that the day after Fowell was interviewed in the case, the sheriff’s office sent the officer a memo that described itself as a reminder that distraction blows were not allowed.

“That was news to Brian and plenty of other deputies that I know,” he said. “And the default is that departments normally don’t restrain what deputies can do if they perceive for example if they’re fighting for their life or they’re trying to apprehend somebody. They can always do what’s reasonable under the circumstances.”

[Screengrab via Damarkus Cummings]

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