DA files charges against Merced County sergeant with assault when he kicked suspect in the head multiple times

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Charges relating to excessive use of force have been filed against a former Merced County Sheriff’s Office sergeant, according to the Merced County District Attorney’s Office, following an incident on March 11.

After the DA’s office announced the charges, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office has since released bodycam video of the incident as it unfolded. You can watch the video in the player below.

According to the District Attorney’s office, charges including assault by a public officer were filed against 42-year-old Dustin Witt, a former sergeant with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.

Witt resigned in June 2023 after the Sheriff’s Office launched an internal affairs investigation into excessive use of force by the sergeant.

On March 11, 2023, officials say Louis Jackson was detained by a Merced Sheriff’s Office deputy following a suspected DUI-related accident.

Officials say former Sergeant Witt responded to the scene to assist and during the encounter, Witt allegedly kicked Jackson in the head multiple times.

In addition to assault by a public officer, officials say Witt is also charged with assault likely to cause great bodily injury, and an enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury.

The District Attorney says it was the result of the Merced County Sheriff’s own internal checks and balances that brought this case forward.

“We are all equal under the law, and that principle also stands with those entrusted to uphold the law,” said Merced County District Attorney Nicole Silveira, “I want to acknowledge the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, which brought this serious matter to light.”

Witt’s first court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, August 16.

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