Santa Rosa, CA — Nathan Cerruti admits his Santa Rosa neighborhood isn’t the best one in the world, even calls it a little “trappy,” but he still takes pride in being a part of the neighborhood watch. He and his buddies make it a habit of telling passing motorists to slow down as kids play in the driveways. But that all changed when it was the police who allegedly got told to slow down Sunday night while they were allegedly driving too fast through their complex.
Cerruti was cooking a chicken pot pie in the microwave when he hears his buddy yelling at passing patrol car to slow down. The challenge to their authority was apparently too much for them to let go, so they initiated a confrontation with Cerruti and his friends.
The question of who got to exercise their freedom of speech was quickly answered when a gang of police officers attacked the men, who were simply expressing their desire for the police to slow down.
That’s where the video starts. Cerruti said he was just trying to protect his neighbor’s baby from the ensuing argument when he got between his neighbor and the baby gate.
“I raised my voice one time, to let them know there was a baby nearby…and I got my ass whooped,” Cerruti told the Free Thought Project. He says his neighbor was tased and then he got tased, and “dropped to the floor.”
Neighbors saw the attack and began to document the beating by filming with cell phone cameras. Cerruti’s friends took an even worse beating, in his opinion, and says he felt like they were “trying to kill them”.
“I remember being face down in the curb, and I saw one cop take out his baton, and I watched him bash my friend in the shins,” he recalled adding he was swinging so hard the officer was creating sparks when the baton hit the concrete.
During the melee, he says a friend called police headquarters to file a complaint. “A friend of mine was in the house and he called for a watch commander because he saw us getting the life beat out of us,” he said.
After the watch commander called back, his wife got the phone and asked them to send an ambulance, but the medics forced him to walk the length of the complex on a broken foot.
“Dude, I’m there to protect the baby. These dudes just attacked. The only thing you can think of it as was a masculinity, control type of event. They just wanted to show us they were the ones in control,” he said.
Cerruti said he got a concussion, a broken foot, bruises all over his back, and general soreness all over.
He says he feels like the police are lying about having been called to the apartment complex. They told them there was a fight in progress so they were responding. But he says he didn’t see or hear about a fight taking place and added, “the only fight taking place was them fighting us.”
Two of his friends were charged. One was charged with assault on a police officer and child endangerment. Cerruti has a record but hasn’t been in trouble with the law since 2008. He says he doesn’t know if he’s going to sue as all he can think about at the moment is the pain he’s currently in.
Now, Cerruti says police have threatened the apartment complex with shutting them down for “code enforcement violations” if they don’t kick out the people involved in the fight they themselves started. As a result, he says he has to look for a new place to live, all because he and his friends tried to hold the police accountable for speeding through their neighborhood.