Two San Diego police officers are under investigation after cellphone video captured them repeatedly punching a Black man during an arrest in the La Jolla neighborhood this week.

The investigation was announced late Wednesday hours after Jesse Evans, 34, allegedly urinated in public, according to the San Diego Police Department. A woman who recorded the incident, Nicole Bansal, told the The Washington Post that the officers’ response to the situation, which saw police punching him in his face, head and legs, appeared to be “excessive and unnecessary” for a man she believes to be homeless.

“He’s a harmless, houseless man,” she told The Post.

Lt. Shawn Takeuchi, a spokesman for the police department, confirmed in a statement to the San Diego Union-Tribune that authorities were aware of Bansal’s cellphone footage. The officers have not been publicly identified.

The police spokesman noted to the Union-Tribune that internal affairs is investigating the incident and would be reviewing body-cam footage after city officials and critics called for a probe.

Takeuchi didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

Video of the arrest comes as the issue of excessive force by police continues to be a pressing matter for law enforcement nationwide.

At around 9 a.m. Wednesday, police said that two officers attempted to talk to the man after they caught him urinating at the intersection of La Jolla Village Drive and Torrey Pines Road, about 13 miles outside downtown San Diego. Takeuchi said the man “would not stop to speak with officers.”

Evans said at a Friday news conference that he never got the chance to relieve himself because the officers came around the corner to interrupt him about indecent exposure.

Evans, who had a large Band-Aid under his left eye on Friday, said he started walking away from the officers, telling them to stay out of his life and lamenting that he hates the country and the culture because of their behavior.

The altercation between Evans and police broke out as he was trying to get away from them to urinate, he said.

Bansal said she sees Evans walking around all the time barefoot with a big orange life vest, often talking to himself. She said she started recording him because officers appeared to approach him aggressively.

In Bansal’s video, officers are seen trying to detain Evans before all three ended up on the pavement. One officer appeared to be on top of Evans and punched him about two times in the head.

“Stop!” Bansal yelled as she was recording. She said her window was down and that she was unsure if the officers heard her.

Evans throws what appears to be a police radio and tries to hit the officer who had struck him, according to video.

Seconds later, the officer in question is heard saying expletives and telling Evans to stop resisting arrest as his fellow officer tries to gain control of the man’s legs. When officers instructed Evans to put his hands behind his back, they again punched his head and legs and continued to tell him to stop resisting. Takeuchi said in a statement that Evans would not comply despite the repeated commands.

Evans was punched some more by the two officers before additional police showed up on the scene to help with the arrest, video shows.

Bansal can be heard in the video expressing her disbelief at the situation.

“Four cop cars to deal with a homeless man,” she said. “This is insanity. Eight cops. Four cop cars. And they decide to get an ambulance.”

Evans was initially taken to a hospital for medical care before he was released and booked into county jail, reported the Union-Tribune. The man was booked on charges of resisting arrest and battery of a police officer, NBC News reported. He was released early Friday, according to the La Jolla Light.

Bansal said that most of the public restrooms in the area are closed due to coronavirus restrictions, leaving homeless people to find solutions on their own.

Community leaders have agreed with Bansal’s assessment of the arrest. Francine Maxwell, president of the San Diego branch of the NAACP, wrote a letter to the police chief on Wednesday demanding an investigation and wanting the officers to be held accountable.

“To yell ‘stop resisting’ and to continually punch and slap this man was clearly not conducive to calming the situation,” she said. “The SDPD has a de-escalation policy that requires you to use time and space to defuse a situation, rather than immediately move to force.”

San Diego City Council member Joe LaCava, who serves the La Jolla area where the incident happened, called the video “a tragedy and a disgrace.” He said in a statement that the arrest highlights the need for officers to not be placed in situations better suited for behavioral specialists.

“You would not send a doctor to arrest a criminal, police should not respond to mental health situations,” he said. “This event obligated precious resources from the SDPD, the hospital, and the jails. This individual will likely be back on the street unconnected to resources.”

Area advocates have worked to get Evans out of jail and are working with him as he selects a lawyer in the process, said Shane Harris, founder of People’s Association of Justice Advocates, at a Friday news conference. Harris called on the mayor and the police department to release the body-cam footage of the encounter with Evans along with dispatch recordings “to get the whole story in context.”

Evans said that he’s forgiven the officers who hit him but hopes that better-trained people will be hired on the force in the future.

“I hope I’m the last victim of such nonsense to me,” he said. “I hope that we can hire reasonable individuals to look out for us and protect and serve our greater good in a better way and represent us in a better way.”

Read more: