An encounter between Sacramento Police and an unknown suspect took a tragic turn Friday evening after the man died in police custody.

Now, video of the incident, provided to CBS13 by an anonymous bystander, has some questioning if Sacramento Police used an appropriate amount of force. (Watch above. Warning: graphic footage.)

The video shows the suspect on the ground, surrounded by officers in a shopping center near the city's southeastern section. He appears motionless while an officer near the suspect's head hits him repeatedly with a baton.

According to a statement from the Sacramento Police Department, the incident began when the suspect entered a nearby store and began speaking unintelligibly. Fearing for her safety, a female employee in the store called 911. When officers responded, the suspect, who had left the store, reentered and attempted to barricade himself inside with the employee.

In the process of extricating him from the store, the suspect became combative and was able to "physically overpower" one of the responding officers, continues the release, thus justifying the need for pepper spray, baton strikes, and additional assistance from other responding officers.

Shortly after taking the man into custody, the release states, officers "noticed that he was unresponsive," at which point he was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. "At this time it is unknown what caused the subject's death," the release continues.

A tweet from the Sacramento Police confirms the suspect died while in custody:


Sacramento Police
SPD investigating an in custody death after officers physically struggle with a violent suspect

Police spokesman Officer Doug Morse told The Sacramento Bee the officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave, as is the department's policy in such cases. The death will be the subject of an investigation.

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