An Imperial County city official who turned himself in to authorities after video surfaced of him allegedly striking a boy with a belt has resigned from his position.
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In video shot by neighbor Oscar Lopez, Anthony Sanchez, who had been the director of the Imperial County Irrigation District, is allegedly seen hitting his stepson with a belt multiple times as they played catch.
Sanchez turned himself in Friday afternoon, according to the Imperial County Sheriff's Department. He was arrested and booked into Imperial County Jail on felony child abuse charges.
On Saturday evening, the Imperial Valley Press reported that Sanchez had resigned effective immediately so he could focus his time and energy on the charges he is facing.
"My understanding is they're relying on the video and also statements and interviews that they may have taken from various people involved," said Sanchez's attorney, Ryan Childers.
Lopez said after several minutes he felt like he had to do something, and he began shouting at the man to stop.
"He said, 'You know what, you better throw that football right. You practice because when you start playing football, they're all going to laugh at you. They're going to tell you you suck because of the way you throw a football,'" Lopez told 10News. "When I found out who it was, I was in shock."
Lopez and the video appeared on the show "Inside Edition" on Friday.
"He goes, 'Do you know who I am? Do you know my kid?'" he said. "When he said, 'Do you know who I am'
at that point, I don't care who you are."
At one point on the video, Lopez can be heard demanding that Sanchez stop.
"'That's enough! I'm having a
problem with you beating
him because he won't catch the damn ball,'" he said.
Childers told 10News he believes the felony child abuse charge filed against Sanchez will ultimately be reduced.
Sanchez has not been ordered to stay away from his stepson.
"That makes sense because no one's been to court yet. I'm not aware of a protective order in place," Childers said.
ABC News reported Saturday that the boy's grandparents are defending Sanchez and his character saying, "We are a family that believes spanking a child serves its purpose well."
10News learned Sanchez is a T-ball and soccer coach.
"You don't have to be a police officer to stop something
just speak up," Lopez said.
Childers said Sanchez's stepson and family are currently out of town on a pre-planned vacation.
10News learned Sanchez is free on $100,000 bond.
Formal charges still have yet to be filed by the District Attorney's Office.
10News was told Sanchez's first court date will likely be sometime next week.
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