AN AMERICAN police chief's teenage son has been arrested following a brutal attack on a 71-year-old Sikh man in California.

Tyrone McAllister, 18, and a 16-year-old boy were detained by local police after Sahbit Singh Natt was confronted by two people on his morning walk in Manteca.

Footage of the incident shows the pair allegedly approach and then surround Natt.

Natt tries to escape the pair after an exchange of words but is kicked to the ground by the person wearing the black jumper.

Natt gets back up and retaliates but is knocked back down by his assailant.

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The attacker and his friend then walk away from the scene of the crime only for the attacker to return and continually kick Natt while he lays on the ground.

Local detectives said they were treating the crime as a robbery but hadn't ruled out the possibility of a hate crime. There were also reports the pair may have brandished a gun.

Union City Police Chief McAllister said he "devastated" and that his family are "embarrassed, dejected, and hurt" following his son's arrest.

Chief McAllister helped identify his son from the surveillance footage.

"Violence and hatred is not what we have taught our children; intolerance for others is not even in our vocabulary, let alone our values," Chief McAllister wrote on the Union City Police Department Facebook page.

"Crime has never been an element of our household, our values, nor the character to which we hold ourselves... My stomach has been churning from the moment I learned this news."

McAllister was charged with attempted robbery, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.

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