Pittsburg Police Release Body Cam Footage of Uncooperative Subject

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The following statement was released by Pittsburg Police after a citizen captured video of what some considered to be excessive force. In response, Pittsburg Police released their own body cam footage:

We are aware of a video circulating on social media that shows disturbing cellphone video of Pittsburg Police Officers making an arrest. The video shows an officer throwing a man to the ground then punching him several times. Some who’ve viewed the video mistakenly believe the suspect was handcuffed – but he was not.

Several citizens have brought this video, which has limited audio and was taken from a distance, to our attention. It is important to note that often a single video does not tell the full story. So, we have decided to release the officers’ body-worn camera footage to make the story as complete and open as possible.

This incident occurred on Saturday, September 15th. We received a call about a man walking with a cup of gasoline in his hand in the area of Power Avenue. The caller suspected the man had stolen gasoline from one of the cars – which had a punctured gas tank. The first officer who arrived found a 31-year-old man who matched the description and who also had prior contacts with the officer. Oddly, he was wearing a baggy jacket in the middle of a warm day.

The man had his right hand in his pocket as if concealing something from the officer’s view. The officer told the man to drop what he was holding in his right hand. He refused while saying he did not “trust you guys”. After another order to drop the item, the man slid a crowbar down from his jacket sleeve into his hand and said “shoot me, shoot me”.

A second officer responded to the scene and they repeated the order until the man threw the crowbar to the ground. But, the suspect remained uncooperative and refused to comply with lawful orders. As the officers moved in and tried to handcuff him, he pulled away to resist arrest. That’s when one of the officers took the man to the ground where he continued to struggle as they attempted to handcuff him. Despite their efforts, they were unable to bring his wrists together. Both officers then delivered “distraction blows” or punches (both open handed and closed) in an effort to distract him enough to bring his arms behind his back which ultimately proved successful when he was cuffed.

The man did receive lacerations and was treated by medical personnel.

He was arrested for resisting arrest and violating the terms of his probation. Officers do believe he is the man who stole the gas, but the theft investigation is still on-going.

By policy, officers should use force as a last resort. By it’s nature, it never looks good. But, often the use of force is both for public and officer safety. The Police Chief personally reviews every incident where an officer uses force. This case is no different.

The Department has launched an internal investigation to determine if the force used during this incident was appropriate and reasonable.

We appreciate the community’s continued support, and we hope this body-worn video and additional details help shed light on what happened during this arrest.


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40 COMMENTS

  1. Fuckin’ fuckin’ fuckin’ fuckin’ ? No problem with how they dealt with this guy, the guy was uncooperative but how many times are they gonna say Fuck ?

  2. No infield ? Even after the guy got knocked up a bit ? My previous post was probably edited, it is understandable that the adrenalin was flowing but how many times did the officers say “F&*&” or “F*&%#$” ? Also the officers should remember that they need to give basically the same account to the sergeant of what is on the video — the guy did not repeatedly tell them to shoot him — I heard him say it once after he was on the ground. The guy basically was being “stupid in public” and at the point of the stop was only suspected of vandalism and theft of gas. The officer wanting the guy checked for Probation after the fact, well ….. okay. Cops today have a really tough job, I can say that I am glad I retired 5 years ago and don’t have to deal with the crap they deal with now. Good luck on this one.

    • Actually I counted the suspect saying “shoot me” about 10 times after being asked repeatedly to drop his weapon. Rewatch the video.

      • Not criticizing … just questioning. When I first started as a cop back in the 90s I threw my share of F bombs dealing with knuckleheads, but as time went on, I learned that I can get my point across talking to some idiot without the F bombs and without escalating the situation to a fight. When officers use it, it decreases the impact of their presence — they have just lowered themselves to acting like the knucklehead they are dealing with, and open themselves up to unneeded criticism. Good job Pittsburg PD Admin (Sarcasm), this was a bonehead idea to release this video. If people are taking videos of the incident so be it, but don’t put out a video that shows your officers are being unprofessional morons throwing F bombs out the window, acting like this idiot just committed the crime of the century. Gee I wonder if he smelled of gasoline ? Because if he had just punched a hole in a gas tank he would have gotten some gas on him. People will say officers are human — to a point, but they cannot revert to primal urges to exhibit their aggression like the normal person does — This is why cops go through Psych Screening and Background Checks to “help” weed out those that react like a “normal” lay person.

        • You say you were a cop in the 90’s? It is not the same as being a cop in today’s time. Even the smallest of calls is a deadly situation. Who’s to say this idiot wasn’t planning to throw gas on the officer and throw a zippo. A cop is a “normal” lay person. They just have a different job. One cop putting down another. How sad!

          • Christy, I started in 1990. Being a cop in the 90s was the same as it is today … Only today you have more people questioning what you do as an officer, and there have been more restrictions placed on officers as a result of the poor choices officers have made. Kind of like when a plane crashes, changes in procedures take place to possibly avoid the same thing from happening again — sometimes resulting in more restrictions, but that is good thing — don’t you think so ? I retired in 2013 my friend. Cops are NOT normal lay people — you are wrong there. They are vetted through a very difficult process of background investigations, polygraphs and psychological screenings before even being hired.

            Melanie, thank you !!

  3. Other than the unnecessary language, this looks textbook. When stopped by the police, just cooperate. It’s that simple.

  4. I think F**** was 67 times and F****in was 24 times but I might be off a few F****s. More importantly I agree with exactly how they handled it. Great job PPD. You have it tough over there.At least Antioch has allowed some scumbag relief to Pittsburg.

  5. I watched the video,an I could clearly see no handcuffs! So pended to Get their eyes checked! Do as the officers say, an you won’t get hurt!

  6. For those of you worried about the language the Officers used, they need to speak the language of the animals they deal with so they understand. I’m gonna bet this animal isn’t the smartest in the zoo and simple straightforward language he understands is best is what’s best for him and others like him.

  7. This all could have been avoided, if the person (who is already on probation) in this video cooperates. The real victim in this incident, is the person with a punctured gas tank and loss of gas.

  8. This is sad the guy in the video is mentally unstable. I know because he is my friends cousin. Pittsburg cops know this already. How could they not?

  9. This is sad and pathetic. This was easily avoidable. People need to learn to cooperate with police, and cops need to be PROFESSIONAL. There’s no reason for any f bombs, and he’s not your bro. Talking to someone like he’s your buddy will get you disrespected. I’ve never been a cop (nor could I) but if you can’t do any job PROFESSIONALLY you shouldn’t be doing it. Find another line of work.

    • The Officer has the right line of work. He uses the vernacular language so that the perp will understand. You want the Officer to recite Shakespeare to this POS?

      • You have no idea what you’re talking about. If every other word is the f word, you’re as much of a POS as the perp. He’s not using it so he’ll “understand.” They both speak English. He’s using it because he’s ticked off. The officer obviously comes from a low-class backround. If every other word is the f word, you’re from the wrong side of the tracks, and you don’t know any better. The truth hurts.

        • What do you do for a living? I really would like to know. People say they want police to be more relatable but when they do they get bashed for it. Do you think they like to be called bro and being told to f#*k off all the time. They are using societal lingo to try to relate to the public. I say job well done PPD, job well done!

          • A police officer has to take charge and earn respect, not try to be “relatable.” You’re in a position of authority, not smoking weed on the corner with your friends. You’re clueless.

          • Christy, police officers are professional people. They have to maintain control of a given situation at all times. “Getting down” with the homies, talking like they do, doesn’t garner any respect from the people they are dealing with. It only makes them look stupid because the person or people you trying be “relatable” with know it’s fake and won’t take you serious. My suggestion to you is go on a few ride alongs or perhaps enroll in a Citizen’s Academy — that might enlighten you and you probably will enjoy it. Give it a shot.

          • Christy, by the way I retired from Antioch PD in case you are wondering. So I saw the city change firsthand, but I don’t call it “ghetto” or “a dump” like some people do, etc. Antioch has its bad areas like any other city, but it’s not all bad. Fortunately the Antioch PD does not have the same issues plaguing other cities, and that allows them to do their jobs they are hired to do.

  10. OMG! How could the officers even breathe around this stinko! He should have followed orders from the officer to drop what was in his right hand. It was obvious when he pulled his hand out of his pocket, he was hiding something behind his back. The “F” bombs were right-on-the-money! The officer did his job professionally.

  11. The distraction blows I see in the video are closed fists with handcuffs. At one point, I see an officer “pistol grip” the cuffs and strike the suspect on the side of the head. This type of “distraction blow” must be new (sarcasm).

    Also, based on my training and expereince, you can’t expect somone to place their hands behind their back when your knees are on their back. – Just saying 🙂

    • It’s excessive force. I respect what cops do, but I don’t like most of them personally. They’re arrogant pricks, and this is coming from someone who has never had any experience with law enforcement. I’m tired of cops thinking they can treat everyone like crap just because they wear a badge. Be professional, and if you don’t have the mental wherewithal, society shouldn’t have to suffer. It leads to lawsuits all the time, and the taxpayers gets screwed. And, no – I’m not a liberal.

        • Control my temper. Diffuse the situation – not escalate it. A good analogy would be men that beat their wives or girlfriends. Where most men would never hit a woman, regardless of how angry or frustrated they are. And to be fair, women commit domestic violence too.

          If he’s known to police, and according to the video (and another comment) he is – cops need to handle people with mental health issues properly – not aggressively.

          • Just because a few officers know a subject does not mean the whole police force knows of the person. Do you know if the person was throw gas or a lighter to set themselves or the officers on fire? Guess what the officers dont know that either. They have the right to protect themselves as much as protect the public. Hell the idiot had a crowbar up the sleeve of his jacket. He wasn’t on his way to fix a tire. He evidently knew there was going to be a problem.

          • Read the replies from Vince – above. He’s retired LEO. He agrees with me and Nick. He ought to know. The officer in this video said he knows him. This officer is young and stupid.

            Why am I concerned? As a taxpayer, I’m sick of unnecessary lawsuits. Where millions are paid out because of EXCESSIVE FORCE.

  12. Suspects do need to comply – they have no one to blame but themselves. But this is a waste of taxpayer dollars. All these cops for stealing gas? What a joke.

    • First of all, you have no idea what your talking about regarding how police deal with combative suspects. This is reality and it isn’t pretty, I’m sure these officers who fired off these expletives didn’t say them just for the hell of it. Bottom line, it’s all fun and games to disparage the men and women in law enforcement until your house or your car gets broken into, then maybe you’ll have to contact these “arrogant pricks”.

      • If they can’t handle suspects professionally, they need to find another line of work. A good friend of mine (Jeff) is a cop and he tells me all the time “most cops are assholes.” I prefer arrogant pricks. It’s a very common opinion. Google it.

        It’s not “fun and games.” We’re all entitled to our opinion. Freedom of speech. If you don’t like it – don’t read my comments.

        Not all cops deal with situations like this one. You know darn well “stolen gas” doesn’t usually lead to several cops. There’s no need for “back up” for stolen gas. The back up was due to excessive force, and it’s NOT NECESSARY.

        • Like I said again, you seem to live in fantasy world where you think all interactions between the police and suspects are peaceful and that politely telling a drugged up suspect to relinquish his weapon or to sit down will yield favorable results. I have family members and close friends that are involved in law enforcement, so for you to play Monday morning quarterback and spout your opinionated nonsense is an insult to not only to the men and women that are law enforcement but also their families. There are corrupt and rogue cops out there that have no business being on the street but 90 percent of cops are working a professional that all acknowledged the risks and the natural of this dangerous and thankless job which neither you or I as civilians having any clue what police deal with on a daily basis to protect all of us. Another thing, if you write a comment on this site and you don’t expect to have a response that opposes your opinion, then you should really consider going to another site. Agree to disagree.

          • Okay Gabe … Like all other people who have close friends or family members in Police Work think they are an expert on what makes cops tick.

            I retired from police work (Service Retirement) after 23 years. My father is retired from CHP after getting shot in 1977 in East Contra Costa County.

            My original posts addressed the F Bombs and criticized the Pittsburg PD Admin for releasing this body cam footage in response to private videos taken of the incident that did not start at the beginning. In my opinion, it was stupid and showed a lack of judgement when PPD Admin chose to have this video released. They should have just took the heat.

            NO matter what you all say, the cops still look really stupid dropping multiple F Bombs directed at a Moron who didn’t want to comply. There are a number of issues with their tactics the officers used — not gonna get into here because quite frankly most of the people wouldn’t understand what was being explained — this is one of the reasons cops don’t readily advertise to the public their job, because people assume they know how to be a cop based on what they watch on TV – as evidenced in some of the posts on this blog.

            This was NOT excessive force but some things they did after the guy was taken to the ground were sort of goofy — they put the cart before the horse. Perhaps the officers have a history with the knucklehead and know how he reacts — we do NOT know nor will we ever really know. What we don’t know from the video is the guy was never positively identified at the scene after being handcuffed as being the responsible in the vandalism and theft — it is only assumed the guy is in fact the person who committed this crime which led to the original stop, nor do we know what happened with this case. So you cannot make a judgement on this based on the video alone.

            You are correct in stating that civilians — people who NEVER worked as a cop have any idea what goes through an officers mind. That is the only thing you are correct about — agree to disagree. Again, just because you know or are related to officers does not make you privy to what makes an officer do the tactics they do. Perhaps you should go back and read my posts.

          • Hey Gabe – You’re the one challenging her, not the other way around. You’re the one that needs to agree to disagree – not her. Law enforcement runs in my family too, and I used to be 100 percent supportive. Not anymore. Too much abuse. Men can control their testoterone – if they want to. Too many men don’t care. They don’t give a ****.

          • I’ve never worked as a cop, but I think this is definitely excessive force. Excessive force is anything beyond what’s necessary to arrest a suspect. You don’t have to beat him to a bloody pulp to arrest someone. Just cuff him. He beat him because he got ticked off, and he abused his power. Men do it all the time, whether they’re wearing a badge or not.

            The reason female cops handle domestic violence situations better than men.

      • You can deal with reality without constant f bombs. You’re making excuses for low class behavior. If you want to be respected, you need to clean up your language or no one will take you seriously.

  13. Great police work. The real victims are the police officers. Way under paid to have to deal with that stuff. Then you have to explain how you handled it!! Not worth it. How long before we can’t hire police officers.

    This will bread cops that will turn down the other street and sayI could not locate subject. Not worth the grief of trying to make a difference. Really can’t blame them if they do. We should be thanking these officers and encouraging it.

  14. “What do you have”? My work stuff. They search his backpack and what is in there? His work stuff including a hard hat. Down and out, down on his luck guy, who most likely does Labor Ready day work.

    Cops (yeah Cops, not Police Officers) are not trained worth crap these days. In other countries you have to train for a minimum of 2 to 5 years to become an Officer of the People.

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