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US cop on leave after ‘pinning, punching’ black man

A police officer in the US state of Georgia was ordered to be placed on leave after footage emerged of him pinning an African-American man to the ground and punching him as the latter reportedly refused to show his ID, media reports said.

The incident occurred on Friday when the man and his girlfriend were riding in a Lyft cab when two Clayton County Sheriff deputies pulled the car over for a broken taillight, the Sun newspaper reported on Saturday citing an Instagram post from a woman who claimed to be the victim’s cousin.

The Georgia Department of Public Health Vital Records Office building can be seen clearly in the background of the video, placing the incident on Phoenix Boulevard near Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta.

The cab driver reportedly did not have his ID and the deputies then asked the victim to show his. He refused because he was not the one driving, according to the Instagram post.

The deputies then told the victim to get out of the car and arrested him when he refused, it added.

One officer appeared to be putting his weight on the man to hold him down, while the other was to be punching him, reports the Sun newspaper.

The woman, believed to be the victim’s girlfriend, is seen screaming and begging for the deputies to stop, telling them the he could not breathe. When the man ultimately regains consciousness, he can be seen trying to shake off the two deputies as they cuff him.

In a statement on Saturday, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said its Internal Affairs Unit was looking into the incident.

“The Sheriff has ordered that the Deputy involved be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation,” the Sun newspaper quoted the statement as saying.

The incident in the midst of nationwide unrest which was triggered after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, in the hands of police. He died in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.