California State Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D) was arrested earlier this week after accusations of child cruelty after he said he disciplined his 7-year-old daughter with a spanking.

Arambula said he spanked his eldest child earlier this week because she was “acting out.”

"We have nights where we can get overwhelmed. That night was a night that she was acting out," Arambula told CBS News.


His daughter told her teacher about the incident the following morning.

After school administrators noticed an injury on the young girl’s body they reportedly called Child Protective Services, which briefly removed three of Arambula’s children from his home shortly after.

"She was really angry that he spanked her. She woke up angry. And she went to school angry. And she wanted to be heard," Arambula’s wife, Elizabeth, told the publication.

Arambula was later arrested on suspicion of "willful cruelty to a child,” which is a misdemeanor. 

Though Arambula said he only spanked his daughter on the buttocks, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told CBS News "the injury in this case is not on the buttocks." 

Attorneys representing Arambula took aim at Dyer’s remarks in a statement to The Fresno Bee.

"It is disappointing that Chief Dyer has taken to the media in order to try this case in the court of public opinion ... We have offered to meet with representatives of the ... district attorney's office so that relevant information can be presented,” the statement read. 

Though spanking children as a punishment is legal in the United States, it becomes a crime if courts deem the act excessive, typically if a child is left with physical injuries. 

Arambula, a board-certified physician, says he is innocent, however.

"I'm a healer by nature, I'm a doctor. And it's not in my nature to actually be assertive and aggressive like that," Arambula told CBS News. 

Arambula’s children were returned to his home after Child Welfare Services determined there were no concerns about abuse.

Arambula could face a year in jail if he is convicted.