Contra Costa County, CA — The taxpayers of Contra Costa County will soon be shelling out some serious settlement money after a teenager was brutally choked until he fell unconscious and then beaten even more after — by a cop’s flashlight. Body camera footage from the disturbing incident was just released this week showing that after cops beat Ricardo Hernandez, then 19, they lied in their police reports to cover their crimes and justify their false arrest.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Federal Court on Monday, Hernandez was a passenger in the backseat of a stolen car which he did not know was stolen. Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Battles pulled the car over after noticing it was driving with no lights. When he ran the plates, he found the car was stolen and called for backup.
As the video shows, all the teens were ordered out of the car one by one at gunpoint. Hernandez complied with the orders to walk backward with his hands on his head. However, as the video shows, instead handcuffing the compliant teen, Battles put him in a “carotid hold” — a type of neck restraint — until Hernandez lost consciousness.
As Mercury News reports:
Video from a police body camera reviewed by this news organization shows some of the scene of the arrest, including a clip where at least one deputy can be heard saying “he’s out, he’s out, he’s out.”
The lawsuit argues that when the deputy said “he’s out,” referring to Hernandez, Battles knew that meant Hernandez was unconscious but that Battles continued to instruct him to give his left hand to be handcuffed.
After the deputies repeatedly demand Hernandez “stop resisting” in the video, one can be seen hitting him with a flashlight.
The lawsuit alleges that Battles struck Hernandez in the head and neck six times with his flashlight, and another deputy, Joseph Anderson, beat Hernandez’s right shoulder area.
“I will (expletive) shoot you,” a deputy’s voice can be heard saying in the video. The lawsuit states that this is the voice of Battles who had his pistol the head of this unconscious teenager.
After they knocked the teen unconscious and savagely beat his limp body, these cops then lied in their reports, according to the lawsuit. They falsely claimed Hernandez was flailing his arms. But according to the lawsuit and the video, this was a lie.
After he was knocked unconscious and beaten, Hernandez was hospitalized for his injuries. He was then charged with resisting arrest. He was not charged in connection with the stolen car.
Once the evidence in the case was presented to the District Attorney, Hernandez’ charges were thrown out. Scott Alonso, of the District Attorney’s Office, said that after reviewing evidence, including video, the prosecutor dropped the charges “in the interest of justice,” according to Mercury News.
The lawsuit also names Chance Lopes and a man it identifies at Lieutenant Wooden because they failed to intervene and stop the maniac cop from bashing in an innocent and unconscious teenager’s head in with a flashlight.
According to the paper, the claim accuses the county of having “sanctioned and ratified” both the deputies’ use of excessive force and the deputies’ alleged tactics in filing charges of resisting arrest. The county, the lawsuit says, “failed to train and supervise its Deputies properly to ensure that they only arrest people for violating Penal Code Section 148 when such charges are warranted and not to cover up police abuse.”
None of the officers in the video below faced discipline in this matter.