Official resigns after allegedly beating stepson
UNDATED (WHDH) -- A local government official in San Diego has resigned his position days after a neighbor posted a video online that appears to show the man beating his young stepson.
It wasn’t the first tense exchange between the man and his stepson.
Oscar Lopez couldn’t believe what he saw when he looked through his upstairs window.
Stunned, he grabbed his camera and started shooting video of his neighbor whipping his stepson with a belt in between the tosses of a baseball.
Lopez says it all unfolded during a 15-minute period.
"I could hear he was getting spanked time and time again. Over and over. It only got progressively worse," Lopez said.
At that point, Lopez became desperate to stop it.
"All I could do was smash the blinds and bang on the window," Lopez said.
Lopez got the man's attention and exchanged words with him, before running outside, but his neighbor and the child had gone inside.
Lopez posted the incident on the Internet. Soon after, Anthony Sanchez, the head of Imperial County’s water district, was arrested, accused of felony child abuse.
He made bail and then resigned his post.
His lawyers say the child wasn't hurt and was being disciplined for acting out.
"California law has a clear line, spanking is not against the law," said Ryan Childers, Sanchez’s attorney.
But neighbors don't believe the incident was an isolated one.
"I always thought someone was wrong," said Jacquelyn Lemus.
Jacquelyn Lemus lives across the street from Sanchez.
She says in the last few months, she's noticed odd behavior as Sanchez is driving his stepson to school.
"He would pull the kid, he would tell him 'Get in the car,' the kid was like, 'No, I don't want to get in the car with you.' He's like 'Get in the car!' He would pull him, hit him, throw him in the car. I was like, okay, he's kind of crazy," Lemus said.
Lemus never called police but wishes she did after an incident that's turned a quiet neighborhood upside down.
The house has been cleaned up but neighbors say this weekend someone had posted signs on the outside of the house saying, “child abuser.”
Sanchez was freed on $100,000 bond.