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A Rancho Cordova Police officer is under fire for punching a 14-year-old boy after the cop "lost sight" of an adult during a suspected drug transaction.

Cell phone video shows the cop slamming the teenager into the pavement, then punching him repeatedly in the head while pinning the youngster to the ground.

The police department released a statement identifying the officer in the video as a "Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Officer... who was proactively patrolling the area of Mills Station Road and Mather Field Road. The deputy was in the area due to complaints from citizens about hand-to-hand sales of alcohol, tobacco and drugs to minors."

The department said the use of force on a juvenile was warranted because the boy resisted arrest.

"It's important to put video footage into context, especially in relation to a use of force incident. In this case, the deputy saw what he believed to be a hand-to-hand exchange between an adult and juvenile. As the deputy turned around, he lost sight of the adult, who left the area. When the deputy approached the juvenile, the juvenile was uncooperative and refused to give the deputy basic information. He told the deputy he was 18 years old. Having reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was occurring, the deputy attempted to detain the juvenile so he could conduct further investigation. The juvenile became physically resistive at that time, causing the deputy to lose control of his handcuffs, with landed several feet away. The deputy attempted to maintain control of the juvenile without his handcuffs and while alone waiting for his partners to arrive and assist him."

California is still under restrictive lockdown orders amid the coronavirus pandemic. Package stores in certain neighborhoods are closed, forcing residents to purchase essential items such as food and alcohol from street level dealers.