Man arrested in trolley station takedown shares his story

MTS also released surveillance video of incident

SAN DIEGO - For the first time, a man whose arrest at a trolley station prompted questions of excessive force is sharing his story.

Bruises on Christian Thompson's arms and marks on his wrist are reminders of a Saturday incident, which was caught on cellphone video.

Hours after his release from custody, 10News showed him a copy of the video.     

"When I see the video, I feel outrage," said Thompson, 30. "It's hard to put that into words."

The video, which was filmed by a City College student, shows Thompson with a notepad trying to get a Metropolitan Transit System code enforcement officer's badge number when suddenly a group of officers take him down and into custody.

"I was completely taken aback," he said. "They are not public servants. They are thugs."

Thompson said he was celebrating his 30th birthday that night. He said he had had one drink and was preparing to transfer lines when the MTS officers approached him.

MTS says their officers' actions were justified.  The agency released video of the incident to 10News, including video taken half an hour before the takedown which shows Thompson's pit bull moving toward an officer.

The officers say the dog was growling and say they were concerned for public safety. MTS says he was asked to leave but he refused, so they restrained him.

"My dog does not lunge at anybody," said Thompson.

Thompson says his dog's movement was curiosity, not aggression. Surveillance video shows the dog appeared calm throughout the incident.

Thompson, an Iraq War veteran, says he showed the officers paperwork that the dog was a registered therapy dog. 

MTS also tells 10News that Thompson did not have a paid fare, but he calls that a lie.

In front of 10News cameras, he swiped his month-long MTS pass, which expires in two weeks. He says the pass was returned to him when he was released from custody Tuesday.

Earlier that day, Thompson pleaded not guilty to several charges, including disorderly conduct.

Thompson now plans to file a civil suit. He believes got the officers got agitated because he had an answer for all their concerns.

"I believe these people are undertrained and have a confrontational attitude and they're a bit of a bully," he said.

Thompson's dog is being held by The San Diego County Department of Animal Services. He has 14 days to retrieve the dog.

MTS says Thompson was also cited for smoking, which is not allowed at the station.

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