Conroe, TX -- The Conroe Police Department is standing by their officer's actions this week after video showed him throw a man into a ditch and punch him multiple times in the face and head. During the melee, the officer punched a bystander in the face as well.
The family and the department are now in disagreement over the officer's use of force, which they are saying was clearly excessive.
The incident began on July 4th after Adrian Salazar, 22, ran his truck off the road. When the officer arrived on the scene, Salazar, who'd been drinking, was scared and so he was hiding under a truck.
When the officer walked up, he asked Salazar to get out from under the truck and he immediately complied. When the officer walked up to Salazar, however, that's when things turned violent.
The officer claims that Salazar 'resisted arrest.' However, the video doesn't actually show any resisting.
A bystander filmed a portion of the altercation that did not show the takedown, only the officer repeatedly punching Salazar in the face. The department claims the dashcam video of the incident shows that Salazar resisted, but all we see is the officer walk up to him and quickly throw him to the ground.
"I was just beside the truck when the officer approached me and started punching me in the head. We fell in the ditch. He started punching me," Salazar said.
"I wasn't even cussing at him. Nothing. I didn't give him no reason to start hitting me," Salazar said.
As seen in the dashcam video, Luis Pineda, 27, runs up to the officer in an attempt to get him to stop beating his friend. He appears to be close to the officer in the video. However, he does not appear to be grabbing, punching, or otherwise even touching the cop when the officer lashes out and socks him in the face.
Pineda appears to be knocked out for a few seconds as he stumbles and then falls to the ground. At this point, a second officer shows up and arrests Pineda for simply asking the officer why he was punching his friend, according to Salazar's family.
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For several moments, the officer continued to punch Salazar before finally putting him in handcuffs.
"He wouldn't stop. The officer looked like he had so much anger towards me without even me doing nothing to him," Salazar said.
In a press conference this week, as Click2Houston reports, Conroe's police chief said the seven-year veteran officer did exactly what he was trained to do and handled himself professionally as he carried out the arrest.
He said witnesses at the scene lied about the fact that anyone else was involved in the accident and interfered with the arrest.
"That officer was just minding his own business, answering a call for service to protect the citizens of this community, and the next thing you know he's in a fight. And I think he handled himself professionally," Philip Dupuis, chief of police, Conroe Police Department, said. "When he grabs him to detain him, he spins out of it and comes at it. He grabs him and they roll into the ditch."
The chief claims that his officer was entirely justified for immediately attempting to grab Salazar and when Salazar turned his body, this was enough to justify throwing him to the ground and begin beating him.
"The officer did what he was trained to do. He did an open hand, pushed him back," said Dupuis.
Watch the videos below and decide for yourself who was in the wrong. Let us know in the comments what you think.
Full dashcam video: