A video of a police officer tackling a man sitting on the sidewalk and then beating him up has sparked outrage and a debate on use of excessive force and police brutality.
Some people are also claiming the victim may have mental health issues.
The incident took place on Fairgrounds Drive in front of a Vallejo, California, gas station when law enforcement officers responded to a call stating a man was “acting crazy.”
When the police arrived, the first officer chased the man until finally he got tired and sat down on a sidewalk. It was then that the officer tackled him and tried to handcuff him. But when the man resumed his struggles to escape, the officer started punching him and even took out his flashlight to hit the man on the head.
“The kid surrendered,” said one unnamed witness. “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, people can be heard shouting at the police officer to stop and someone can be heard yelling “police brutality,” as the victim yells “I am God, I am God.”
It’s probable the victim was not in his right mind and he did surrender after a while, so the cop should have restrained himself when trying to arrest him. But he did not. Instead he exercised excessive force. But that’s not all. When witnesses came too close, the cop pulled out his gun and told them to “get the f*** back.”
Even so, police trainer Don Cameron said the cop used appropriate force to hold down 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,” Cameron said.
But, the cop could have easily taken the man in custody without being violent.
Former Oakland police chief Howard Jordan agreed the initial contact was fine, but he said he was concerned by the officer’s continued violence even after backup arrived. He also stated there was no call for the cop to aim his gun at 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.”
The suspect is in jail facing charges of being under the influence and resisting arrest.
As for the cop, according to Indy Bay, he has been identified as ex-Marine Spencer Bottomley and was named in another police brutality case on April 11, 2016. According to court documents, all five officers, including Bottomley, subjected the plaintiff to “deadly force, assault and battery,” and “Defendant Spencer Bottomley struck Plaintiff with his flashlight all over Plaintiff's body.” These claims are eerily similar to what happened in this case as well.
However, if this is true, Bottomley is no longer in a war zone and should stop trying to treat his new setting as one.
People on social media are also calling out the cop’s behavior.
Incident with a suspect and Police in Vallejo, California. Necessary force or police brutality ?? (Part 2) pic.twitter.com/qBd12y5Jo8— DJ Akademiks (@IamAkademiks) March 11, 2017
police brutality has to stop. as a country, as humans, this is not okay. we can not sit here and watch this. #vallejo— lolo (@chloeecoffee) March 12, 2017
Just witnessed police brutality to the max!!! Vallejo PD yal outta be ashamed of yourself s!!!!— Coach Bracy (@BrandonBracy) March 11, 2017
#Vallejo police officer beating unarmed man what's this pigs name— John (@JohnWayne_81) March 13, 2017
Film the police. Always have your phone fully charged and ready. Huge shout out to the person recording the video in #Vallejo.— luasol38#Resist (@luasol38) March 12, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Alex Gallardo