Fresno, CA — London Wallace, 17, has never been in trouble with the law. He’s never been arrested, never committed a crime and had done nothing wrong when his home was raided by a dozen cops—some of whom beat the hell out of him for no reason last month.
In what looks like a scene out of 1930s Germany, over a dozen Fresno police department cops are seen on body camera footage raiding an apartment complex in July. They demand everyone get out of their homes and sit on the floor, treating everyone like criminals as they allegedly searched the apartment for gang members. Wallace has no ties to gangs and has never received so much as a traffic ticket.
“Attention, apartment 204, this is the Fresno Police Department. If you’re inside make your presence known,” and officer can be heard yelling over a bullhorn.
At this point, Wallace — who hadn’t done anything wrong — was being frisked and told to sit down. As he backs up and tries to comply with the officer’s order, he apparently didn’t move fast enough for the tyrant cop who then shoved him.
Wallace pulled back his arm when the cop shoved him once more, which made the officer snap.
Officer Christopher Martinez then started punching Wallace in the face, over and over. As the video shows, Wallace is pleading with the officers to stop hitting him as he is not resisting and simply trying to cover his face from the punches.
As the officers pile their weight on top of Wallace, the teen cannot get off of his own arm. He tries telling the cops this, but they do not listen and instead respond with more blows to the face. Once Wallace is handcuffed, he is left crying, bleeding from his mouth, nose, and forehead.
Martinez would go on to justify this abuse and subsequent beat down by writing in his report that he thought Wallace was going to try to run away.
He would then charge Wallace with resisting arrest. Case closed.
However, an attorney hired by Wallace’s family to pursue legal action against the Fresno police department says the video shows the reason police gave for the violence was false. And he was right. After watching the video, prosecutors dropped all the charges.
“It’s a very disappointing situation. You can see London Wallace crying. You can see him bleeding,” said attorney Nolan Kane.
“He’s a high school kid. He likes playing basketball. He’s a nice, calm, timid person,” Kane said. “And you can kind of see that in the video. He’s not used to police contact.”
Legal analyst Ralph Torres told ABC 7 that this type of force by police officers is often justified as a means of “officer safety.”
“But in this case, the kid was patted down. There was nothing there,” Torres told ABC 7. “And I don’t see anything that was consistent with an officer basically putting his fist right through his face.”
Kane explained how important it is for the public to see the body camera video, which can often times, exonerate officers. But not in this case.
“In this case, it’s not going to be London’s word against the officer’s word. The jury’s going to get to see the full footage and they’ll be able to decide whether this is something that’s acceptable,” Kane said.
As ABC 7 reports, “an initial use of force investigation didn’t find the officer used excessive force, but Chief Jerry Dyer says there’s now an internal affairs investigation. He says there are a lot of different angles and different people may have different perspectives, but the investigation will be conducted quickly and it could possibly lead to discipline.”
Despite finding the officer justified in his use of force, chief Dyer didn’t see the video until Tuesday, showing how little oversight these “investigations” are given.
“I can tell you after looking at the video that it is disturbing to see what occurred in the video,” Dyer said.
Perhaps he should have checked it out sooner, but that would mean holding his officers accountable.
The Fresno police are no stranger to controversy either. You can see for yourself by looking through our archives, here.