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'I followed my training': Former Flagstaff officer talks about punching incident

A year and a half after a video clip caught him punching a woman in the face, former Flagstaff police officer Jeff Bonar is speaking about the incident -- after he accepted a plea deal from prosecutors.

For the first time since his sentencing, former Flagstaff police officer Jeff Bonar is speaking publicly.

Bonar’s legal team says they’re pleased with the outcome of the case.

“I don’t regret what I did. It was unfortunate that I was put in that situation. I don’t think a police officer should be kneed in the groin,” he said.

About a year and a half ago, at the time a Flagstaff police officer, Jeffrey Bonar punched Marissa Morris in the face while serving an eviction notice – he says he had no other choice.

“I followed my training. I used the least amount of force necessary to effect an arrest and defend myself," said Bonar.

Bystanders caught the now-viral punch on camera.

But Bonar said that moment -- the punch, was just a small snapshot of the incident.

He added that his body camera was not on because everything happened so fast.

“There would be a better picture of the longer time frame. How long we were struggling. What she was saying. How much we were actually struggling. How long the actual incident occurred. It could’ve captured her kneeing me in the groin,” he said.

Earlier this week, Bonar was sentenced to 18 months of unsupervised probation and will have to complete an anger management program. Plus he must do 80 hours of community service and pay a $500 fine.

While Bonar is pleased that all charges could eventually be dropped, he said his pride was hurt.

“I had to swallow my pride a little bit accepting a plea deal. I certainly don’t feel I did anything wrong, but thanks to Marc, the prosecution offered me a plea deal I couldn’t refuse,” Bonar said.

If Bonar sticks to the terms of the deal for the next 18 months – all charges will be dismissed.

Morris’s attorney says they’re “disappointed in the prosecutor in the criminal case. The prosecutor gave former Officer Bonar a get out of jail free card.”

A civil case for $85,000 in damages has also been settled with Morris and the City of Flagstaff, according to Bonar's attorney Marc Victor.

Bonar is going to school now and is not sure whether he’ll return to law enforcement in the future.

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