Officer Ian Cole kicked the 17-year-old in the backside, sending him to the ground after he pepper-sprayed the boy.

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A Yakima police officer who knocked down a boy Sunday while breaking up a fight at the Central Washington State Fair has been removed from patrol and placed on desk duty pending an investigation.

Officer Ian Cole kicked the 17-year-old in the backside, sending him to the ground after he pepper-sprayed the boy.

The Yakima Police Department is launching a “use-of-force” investigation into the matter to determine whether Cole’s actions were justified, interim Chief Gary Jones said Tuesday. Cole has been on the force for four years.

But Yakima attorney Bill Pickett, who is representing the boy, questions whether the department can conduct a fair investigation into the matter.

“What they need is a citizen review panel put together in this community and hold these people accountable when there’s misconduct instead of the police saying, ‘We’ll investigate it ourselves.’ That doesn’t work,” Pickett said.

Jones countered, saying the investigating panel will include officers from outside the department.

“To have third-party oversight of every use-of-force investigation would be problematic and I don’t know how we would get that together,” Jones said. “In this matter we do have a review team composed of components outside the department.”

Jones said he’s strictly following department procedures and the process will be transparent.

The matter came to light after a woman who captured the incident on video posted it on Facebook. Commenters both supported and chastised Cole’s actions.

Pickett said the boy was victimized twice in the incident, first by the group that was hitting him, then by Cole.

Pickett said the boy was at the fair with family and friends when they were attacked by a large group of youths.

“He was punched in the head and he was punched in the body,” Pickett said. “He was trying to protect himself and his family.”

Jones said there were about 15 people involved in the fight, and that four were arrested on suspicion of fighting, a misdemeanor offense. The boy was not among them, Pickett said.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nick Barrett, who heads the juvenile unit, said none of those arrested had been incarcerated and he has yet to receive any police reports in the matter.

The boy Cole kicked was treated at the scene and released to his aunt, Pickett said. The boy was punched in the head by his attackers, according to Pickett.

Pickett plans to file a complaint with the city.

“The family wants justice,” he said. “They need to know that they are heard, and they need to know that this type of conduct is wrong and they need to know that this is going to stop.”