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Video of violent arrest of alleged cellphone thief sparks debate

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- The city of Hallandale Beach is facing many questions after cellphone video surfaced on social media showing two officers beating a man accused of stealing a cellphone.  Curses were flying on the video, which shows the officers beating the man with a baton and tasering him Wednesday afternoon, reports CBS Miami.

According to the police report, the man had stolen a cellphone from a vehicle and when officers tried to arrest him, he became combative.

"Yo! He didn't do anything. Stop (expletive) hitting him," the man taking the video said as he confronted the officers.

The man tweeted the video, referring to the incident as "police brutality in broad daylight." He said, "Police heavily beat this man up busted his head open lead him to bleed heavily."

The man on the ground has been identified as 27-year-old Daniel Dunkelberger. He was transported to the hospital and then taken to jail.

"Of course the video is of concern," Hallandale Beach City Manager Roger Carlton  told a news conference Thursday. "There are processes that have to unfold here, one of which is an internal affairs investigation which has already begun. Both officers are on administrative leave."

The man whose cellphone was stolen and called police said he saw the incident from beginning to end and said a lot happened before the video was taken. He told CBS Miami he sees nothing wrong with the officers' actions.

"He's trying to run away. He kept telling the officers, 'No I'm not going to sit down or put my hands behind my back,' and he pushed the older officer and that's when the other officer tackled him and tried to put him under arrest and put his arms behind his back," said Nicholas Garcia, who called police when, he says, he saw Dunkelberger taking his cellphone from his car.

The two officers have been identified as Jaime Cerna, an 11 year veteran, and Richard Allen, who was with the department for more than 30 years, retired and came back to work on an hourly basis to fill in as needed.

The city says the investigation will be open and by the books.

"We want to ask anybody else in the community who has information about this to let us know, if there's additional video to please let us have it because that will be helpful in bringing this situation to a proper conclusion," said Carlton.

Dunkelberger is charged with burglary and resisting arrest.

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