The body camera is good for everyone. It records what is actually happening and not someone’s impression. Here, a camera recorded a melee in the Gaslamp that led to the arrest of Marines who were rendering CPR to someone.
As a former Prosecutor I can tell you without a doubt when in the trial the jury usually believes the officers. The camera will no doubt be beneficial for citizens who had a different perspecitve than the officers.
I will say the camera helps the officers because it will thwart any false accusations that is thrown at officers often.
Gaslamp cases are tough. It was a melee. There is no doubt the officers are on the edge because they know people may have been drinking. It will be interesting to see how the case turns out.
The San Diego Police likely charged PC 69 as a felony. The first reduction from this charge is usually PC 148(a)(1) resiting arrest as a misdemeanor followed by disturbing the peace PC 415 (1) (see codes below).
San Diego Police has been trying to erase a stigma for being aggressive and scandal laden. I am sure they do not want this event to be in the media and the jury. I for one will be watching
“What you’re seeing here appears to be an assault and battery under color of authority,” said attorney Paul Neuharth, who shared the video with Team 10. Neuharth is defending one of the Marines against the criminal charges.
It was when officers asked the Marines to move on that a second fight broke out. During the fight, the video shows a sergeant delivering blows to Reginato, who is on the ground. An officer is heard saying, “Sarge, sarge, sarge, sarge, no punching sarge.”
The body cam video appears to show Lance Cpl. Robert Reginato as he was shoved onto the ground. He jumps up to assist his friend, Cpl. Gabriel Talley. Fists fly, and before it’s all over, the Marines are both face down on the blacktop in handcuffs.
Neuharth said the video is all the evidence he needs to know the two Marines were assaulted.
“This Marine had tears running down his cheeks in my office when he first came in. He said, ‘You know, my friend just got back from Afghanistan, we’re celebrating my 21st birthday, how could something like this happen to me in the United States?'” said Neuharth.
The police reports tell a different story, and it indicates Reginato and Talley attacked officers by “hitting, grabbing, pushing, struggling and violently resisting them.”
Team 10 showed the video to a self-defense expert to see if the officers’ actions were warranted.
Yuri Sigal said, “To me, regardless of whether you’re a police officer or not, it seems like a potentially dangerous situation, an assault.”
Sigal pointed out that even though the Marines were pushed into the street, the returned to the fray, and that likely made officers feel like they were under attack, but without seeing what happened before the camera was rolling, he said it’s hard to know whether the use of force was justified.
When asked about the section of video where one of the Marines is down and a SDPD sergeant is seen punching him, Sigal was hesitant to take sides.
“We can only see a little bit of an angle, we can see that it was the right hand of the police officer that was striking, but you don’t see what the other side is doing, including the suspect. We can’t tell whether he’s punching from underneath or he’s grabbing him or, we don’t know,” said Sigal.
Steve Walker, communications director for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, issued this statement:
“We can only file criminal charges when we believe we can prove them beyond a reasonable doubt, as we do in this case. We are moving forward with the case and will be presenting evidence at the upcoming preliminary hearing.”
SDPD Lt. Kevin Mayer issued the following statement regarding the incident:
“The District Attorney’s Office has filed criminal charges against both defendants in this case. In the upcoming court proceedings, the totality of the circumstances will be presented. We encourage anyone who would like to understand the full and complete picture to follow this case and attend the court proceedings.”
The full article can be found here.
69. Every person who attempts, by means of any threat or violence, to deter or prevent an executive officer from performing any duty imposed upon such officer by law, or who knowingly resists, by the use of force or violence, such officer, in the performance of his duty, is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
415. Any of the following persons shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days, a fine of not more than four hundred dollars ($400), or both such imprisonment and fine: (1) Any person who unlawfully fights in a public place or challenges another person in a public place to fight. (2) Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another person by loud and unreasonable noise. (3) Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.
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