VALLEJO (KPIX 5) — A takedown by Vallejo police was caught on cellphone video. Witnesses said the force the officer used on the suspect was too much.
It happened Friday afternoon according to authorities after someone called 911 to report a man acting “crazy” at a Valero gas station.
Witnesses said the first arriving officer chased the suspect for several minutes until the suspect finally gave up and sat down in the middle of the street.
Then, the officer pushed the man onto the ground to try to cuff him, but the suspect appeared to struggle.
“The kid surrendered,” said one witness who didn’t want to give his name. “The cop, on the other hand, came up right behind him and he was tired too. But he immediately dove on the kid and started wailing on him.”
In the video, the officer beats the suspect with his fists and his flashlight, as the suspect repeats, “I am God, I am God.” Off-camera, someone in the crowd is yelling “police brutality.”
Even though the video is hard to watch, police trainer Don Cameron said the officer used appropriate force to restrain the man.
“Basically that’s what they’re trained to do. When we’re down on the ground, we want to get the person in custody as quickly as we can and we use personal weapons.”
Former Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan agrees the initial contact was fine, but said he’s troubled by the continuous use of force after a backup officer arrived, especially when the officer pulled his gun on the crowd.
“I understand the officer needed to try to keep the people from getting close to him,” said Jordan.”I don’t necessarily agree that’s the best use of force. It does look bad. It does appear inappropriate.”
Vallejo police said Internal Affairs is reviewing the video to investigate all aspects of the arrest including the officer’s use of profanity. He dropped the f-bomb at least twice in the video.
One officer was injured in the confrontation.
The suspect is in jail facing charges of being “under the influence” and “resisting arrest.”
The video got about a million views in its first 2 hours it was posted online.