Rohnert Park police have managed to find themselves in the spotlight again after yet another resident claims police used excessive force against him.
This time, a man named Greg Del Secco said that police showed up to his home unannounced two weeks ago, so he raised his arms to show that he was not a threat.
But they took that as a sign that he was a threat, grabbing his hands, pulling them behind his back and handcuffing him, forcing him to sit on a curb while they raided his home without a warrant.
Their claim: A 911 caller reported hearing a woman screaming for help from inside his home.
But no screaming woman was even found inside his home.
Del Secco believes the raid was in retaliation for posting critical comments on the department’s Facebook page after the earlier incident involving his co-worker, Don McComas.
Video of the incident, posted below, quickly went viral, leading to officer Dave Rodriguez being placed on paid administrative leave.
Del Secco exercised his First Amendment to express his grievances with the actions of the Rohnert Park police officer towards his fellow coworker.
But his Facebook comment post was subsequently deleted and seven days later, his home was raided by three Rohnert Park police officers.
Chief Steve Masterson claims the connection is an “odd coincidence.”
Del Secco came to the door and opened it, making sure to keep his hands visible for his safety.
“I put it out so they could see my hand, knowing that I wasn’t opening it with a weapon or anything like that,” Del Secco said. “As that hand, and I stepped out, they grabbed that hand and twisted it behind my back and started cuffing me and taking me off the porch.”
Del Secco was then lead away from his home by armed officers and sat on the curb in front of his house, handcuffed, while officers with drawn guns raided his home, only to come up empty handed.
Concerned neighbors began to take photographs of Del Secco, in a tank top and shorts, sitting handcuffed against his will, in front of his own house.
The Rohnert Park Police Department says the 911 telephone call came from someone claiming to be 200 feet away from Del Secco’s property.
When asked for the 911 recording, Police Chief Steve Masterson claimed he didn’t have to release the tape.
PINAC has since sent a public records request for that 911 tape and will update the story once it has arrived. Del Secco says he wasn’t doing anything wrong, and had no idea why officers visited his home.
Police Chief Steve Masterson says Del Secco was suspicious for putting his hands in the air.
“To me that an indication that he has some involvement in something that’s gone on inside that house,” said Masterson.
To the rest of America, it’s an indication that citizens are taking extra precautions to prevent themselves from being shot.
Civil rights attorney John Burris agrees with Del Secco, stating he acted appropriately before the officers cuffed him.
“It’s the one lesson we give everybody: always make sure your hands can be seen by an officer,” said Burris. “It should not have been perceived as a threat of any kind.”
Unfortunately for Chief Masterson, the courts are going to decide.
McComas, through his attorney Daniel Beck, has announced they plan to sue the city.
The lawsuit will be for abuse of power and violation of Mr. McComas’ civil rights.
McComas has had to receive medical care after his incident with the Rohnert Park Police Department.
“He thought he was going to die. He thought he was going to be shot. He thought there was nobody around, nobody can see this,” said Beck.
As for Del Secco, officers did not find anything inside his home and eventually released him.