A cellphone video showed police officers in a Northern California city grappling with and tackling a 16-year-old who allegedly refused to get out of a bus lane.
Tuesday morning's confrontation at a downtown bus station has prompted protests and a flood of comments to the Police Department Facebook page calling the officers abusive and cowardly.
Emilio Mayfield was heading to school in the city 70 miles east of San Francisco when an officer confronted him for being in a posted bus-only lane.
An officer went over and told the teen to get out of the lane but "the kid immediately used obscene language toward the officer, told the officer 'I'm not going listen to you' and walked away," police spokesman Joseph Silva said Saturday.
That led to a struggle captured on video by a bystander.
It shows the boy lying on his back on a raised planter with his knees raised as he and the officer grapple two-handed over a baton. The boy is shouting "Get off!" and the officer, who appears to be trying to hold him down with the baton, says "stop resisting!"
The officer twists the baton, apparently striking the boy in the face with both ends.
Several backup officers arrive and four of them haul the struggling boy up, then drag him to the sidewalk as bystanders shout angrily.
Silva said the officer called for backup twice, the second time after a large crowd began to gather.
Mayfield, who is black, told KOVR-TV that he feels "traumatized."
"I felt like I was beaten and slammed on the floor," he said.
The boy, who didn't appear to be seriously hurt, was handcuffed and taken to a police station, cited for trespassing in a bus lane and resisting arrest, then released to his mother.
His family has filed a formal complaint with police.
Silva said an investigation will be conducted but a preliminary review indicates that the officer probably acted within policy because he was trying to keep hold of his baton.
"As police officers, we cannot and will not let anyone grab onto or try to take away any of our weapons, not only for our safety but for the safety of the general public," he said.