SANTA CLARITA (CNS) - The sheriff's department confirmed Monday an investigation is underway into the circumstances surrounding a viral video showing deputies pointing guns at Black teens who had allegedly been attacked by a knife-wielding homeless man in Santa Clarita.
The incident occurred Friday about 5 p.m. in the 19200 block of Soledad Canyon Road, near Whites Canyon Road, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Tammi Collins, the mother of one of the teens, wrote on Instagram that multiple witnesses called authorities after seeing the group of teenagers being attacked. She said one of the callers reported that the attack was carried out by a homeless man.
The man had allegedly asked the teens if they "had any crack then tried to take their things," Collins said. He took out a knife and a whip, and the teens "only had their skateboards to cover them from the knife and whip," according to Collins.
A video posted online shows responding sheriff's deputies with their guns pointed at the teens, who have their hands in the air, while witnesses scream at the deputies that the teens were the victims of the attack.
"It's the other guy!" one woman is heard repeating to the deputies. "Put your guns down, they're kids, they weren't doing anything," another woman said.
"I am the one who called you. It was not them," said another.
The witnesses call out to the teens to tell them to keep their hands up.
Deputies respond by telling the witnesses to back up, and at least one of the teens is seen being detained in the background while multiple deputies point their guns. It was not immediately clear if anyone was arrested.
The video had been viewed on Twitter more than 3 million times as of Monday afternoon. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he was among those who saw the video.
"I have seen the recent video involving a Santa Clarita incident which has gone viral and I have concerns regarding the tactics employed," Villanueva said in a video on Twitter Monday afternoon. "The matter is currently being investigated."
Collins posted the video on her Instagram on Saturday and it was circulated widely on Twitter.
"This is something my son and his friends will never forget," Collins wrote in her post. "I'm still wonder(ing) how will I ever help my son recover from this traumatic experience. Please pray for my family."