A man whose videotaped beating by a Sacramento police officer went viral on social media this week has a history of allegedly disobeying officers, challenging them to fight and resisting arrest, court records and police logs show.
Nania Cain Jr., 24, was the man caught on video walking away from an officer who was trying to stop him for allegedly jaywalking in the Del Paso Heights neighborhood, police said. After ignoring the officer’s commands to stop, Cain could be heard on a dashboard camera video challenging the officer to fight.
“I don’t have nothing,” Cain tells the officer as he takes off his shirt or jacket, apparently to show he was unarmed. “If you were a real man, you could take your gun away and you could fight me like a real man.”
The still unidentified officer then wrestled Cain to the ground and was recorded by a passerby and the his patrol car’s camera pummeling Cain in the face with his fist.
The Sacramento Police Department said Tuesday it began a criminal investigation and an internal affairs probe of the officer’s conduct. He remained on paid administrative leave following Monday’s incident. The department wouldn’t name him because of the ongoing investigations, police spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said.
“This is an isolated incident, and this is not how we operate,” Heinlein said Wednesday. “What we ask from the community is to be patient and know that we’re handing the incident.”
Cain was arrested and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail Monday for resisting arrest and obstructing or delaying a police officer, Heinlein said. He was released from jail early Tuesday morning because there were insufficient grounds to file a criminal complaint, authorities said.
Cain also had an outstanding warrant, which Fresno County records show stemmed from a 2012 incident in which police said Cain failed to obey deputies’ orders and “attempted to fight and threatened to headbutt officers” while handcuffed.
The then 19-year-old jumped into an enclosed area of a restaurant and was attempting to open doors, a Fresno County Sheriff’s Department arrest report showed.
Officers were told he was armed with a knife, it said. They pointed their guns at Cain, but he refused to follow their commands, the arrest report said. He was later booked into jail for resisting arrest, burglary and trespassing, official records show.
Cain pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest and was sentenced to five hours of community service. He failed to appear in court in August 2013 to show proof of completing the community service, and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest, Fresno County Superior Court records show.
Court records say Fresno police cleared the warrant when they found Cain on Feb. 11, 2014, and gave him a misdemeanor citation that ordered him to appear in court on May 13. A new warrant for his arrest was issued after he failed to appear for that court date.
Monday’s incident gained national attention after a witness, who had stopped her car in the middle of the street as the officer followed Cain on foot, posted a video of the incident on social media.
The Police Department said the officer spotted Cain allegedly jaywalking near the intersection of Cypress Street and Grand Avenue at about 5:10 p.m. Monday.
The officer got out of his car and attempted to speak to Cain, asking him multiple times to stop as Cain continued to walk away, before the encounter devolved into violence.
Attempts to reach Cain on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Pablo Lopez reports for The Fresno Bee.