For the second time this year, a hovering news copter captured San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies beating and punching a man on the ground who already had his hands behind his back.
The incident took place earlier today at around 11:30 a.m. after a stolen vehicle chase led deputies into Los Angeles County as a KTLA Sky5 helicopter captured the moments leading up to the arrest of a man named Donovan Gardner.
One deputy was pointing a gun at him while a second deputy approaches the man to place him in handcuffs.
But not without getting a few punches in first.
Once the deputies are on top of the man, one deputy can be seen placing his knee on the man’s face while the other continues to punch him.
The beating continues as the deputies grab the man’s arms and he ends up on his back. It was not until a third deputy arrives, do they stop beating him to place him in handcuffs. The man was placed on a stretcher with a neck brace and taken away in an ambulance.
The deputies could have placed Gardner in handcuffs and been done with the arrest but is obvious that they wanted to take their frustrations out on him, having chased him into Pasadena from Rancho Cucamonga, which is about 35 miles away.
Two use-of-force experts who viewed the video said the blows seemed excessive. Another said the deputy appeared to be using reasonable force.
Geoffrey Alpert, a University of South Carolina professor of criminology who has studied use of force and pursuits, called the encounter “an example of what happens to officers when they’re so angry at the suspect and they lose perspective, and get what we call an adrenaline dump.”
“There is no justification for those blows,” Alpert said.
But Ed Obayashi, a use-of-force expert and attorney who works as an Inyo County deputy, said that while the man in the video was resisting, deputies suspected he had been involved in a home burglary as well as the high-speed pursuit — crimes that are potentially violent.
“His hand is free when he is on the ground and he is resisting and he is a big guy. So the deputy at that point opts to use blows to get him to stop,” Obayashi said. “He is raining down blows but not for malicious purposes.”
This scene is reminiscent from April of this year when San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies chased Francis Pusok into the desert for stealing a horse, beating him as a KNBC-TV news copter got it all on video.
Sheriff officials have not addressed this incident, but if they do, it will only to be tell the media that they are investigating the incident.