A man whose arrest prompted an internal San Diego Police Department investigation appeared in court Wednesday afternoon to answer to charges.
Shawn McPherren, 38, faces three misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and one count of public intoxication stemming from an incident that happened last weekend in front of the Alibi Bar in North Park.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Cell phone video obtained by 10News showed McPherren being pinned to the ground by three unidentified SDPD officers. In the video, one of the officers punched McPherren about six times. Moments later, the footage showed an officer using a Taser to subdue McPherren.
"[The man] kind of seemed defenseless and helpless," said the man who filmed the incident.
The man who filmed the video did not want to be identified but said he only witnessed what he captured on camera, not what happened before.
"The guy was pretty intoxicated from what I could see. He was just lying there [and] didn't seem like much of a threat," he said.
Police had been called to the tavern at the corner of 14th Street and University Avenue about 11 p.m. on a report that a heavily intoxicated patron was being belligerent and threatening people inside the business.
McPherren's blood-alcohol level following his arrest was 0.34 percent, more than four times the legal limit for driving, according to police.
McPherren's bail was set at $5,000, and Commissioner Lee Witham denied McPherrens request to be released on his own recognizance because of his past history, which includes a conviction for attempted robbery in 1995 and several failures to appear in court.
McPherren's public defender, Solomon Chang, argued that McPherren is a "hard-working citizen" and that he has no history of violence.
City Attorney Mark Deniz said that although the attempted robbery was more than a decade ago he still considered McPherren a danger to the public.
A bail hearing was set for May 6.
SDPD officials said they opened an in-house investigation after seeing the video of the arrest on Monday.
According to department policy, officers may employ so-called "distraction blows" to subdue particularly resistant suspects.
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