SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The Carlsbad Police Department released body camera footage Saturday night in response to public concerns over officer misconduct during an incident involving a 27-year-old black man.
The June 11 incident gained attention after cell phone video surfaced showing officers using a Taser on the man and pressing his head into the pavement in an attempt to subdue him.
"A video is circulating showing a police use of force incident from Thursday night. Open lines of communication between the Police Department and the community are more important now than ever," Carlsbad police said in a statement.
"As with all uses of force, we fully investigate incidents to ensure the officers’ conduct is consistent with the Police Department’s policies," police said.
The cell phone video doesn't show the start of the incident. The witness video begins with the man on the ground surrounded by paramedics and two officers lying on top of him.
The newly released six-minute body cam video starts from the moment two officers respond to the scene.
According to the department's timeline of the incident, officers and paramedics responded to a call at 8:48 p.m. about a man found face down on a sidewalk at Ponto Road and Carlsbad Boulevard.
"Two officers arrived and found the firefighters evaluating the man, who was now standing," police said.
Bodycam footage shows the man talking with paramedics, and the group appears to disperse. With the officers approaching, the paramedics step away from the man. The man tells the paramedics, "I'm not complaining about anything else."
The man appears to hear something from the group of paramedics and screams out, "are you mocking me?"
A paramedic tells the man, "No, I'm not mocking you at all."
One officer says, "Hey, they're just here to help you, man."
The man stands face to face with the paramedic telling him, "the way he said it is different from how you said it. Because I understand how the f--- you say it. But what do you mean when you say it?"
According to the police timeline, "The man walked quickly toward the medics while continuing to yell profanities. Officers, fearing for the safety of the medics, interceded."
The report says, "Officers reached out to the man and told him to stop."
A struggle ensues and the body cameras are knocked to the ground leaving only an audio recording of the incident for about two minutes. The officers pick up the cameras and resume video recording the scene about two minutes later.
The department juxtaposed three camera angles of the confrontation with the man -- two from officer body cameras, and one that was recorded by an unidentified "resident." The witness video fills in a section of lost body cam footage.
Carlsbad police said the investigation is still ongoing and are asking the public who may have witnessed the incident to contact the department at their non-emergency line at 760-931-2197.
The man in the video, Marcel Cox-Harshaw, 27, of San Diego, was cited and released for resisting arrest. Police also charged him with being drunk in public.
Police said drugs and or alcohol played a role in the incident.
10News has reached out to Cox-Harshaw for comment.
CARLSBAD POLICE DEPARTMENT TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
A video is circulating showing a police use of force incident from Thursday night. Open lines of communication between the Police Department and the community are more important now than ever. That’s why we are providing a detailed chronology of this incident.
As with all uses of force, we fully investigate incidents to ensure the officers’ conduct is consistent with the Police Department’s policies.
At 8:48 p.m.
A caller reported a man face down on a sidewalk at Ponto Road and Carlsbad Boulevard.
At 8:55 p.m.
Carlsbad Fire Department personnel arrived at the location and began their evaluation of the man.
At 8:59 p.m.
Two officers arrived and found the firefighters evaluating the man, who was now standing.
While medics evaluated the man’s condition, the man became visually agitated and started yelling at the medics.
At 8:59 p.m.
The man walked quickly toward the medics while continuing to yell profanities.
Officers, fearing for the safety of the medics, interceded.
Officers reached out to the man and told him to stop.
The man continued to yell as officers tried to handcuff the man to take him into custody.
The man yelled, struggled, turned and pulled from the officers and would not comply with their instructions.
At 9:02 p.m.
Officers then used a taser to attempt to subdue the man.
At 9:03 p.m.
The officers then restrained the man by holding his body and head to the ground while placing him in handcuffs. He was not injured, but he continued to shout angrily. Officers asked him to calm down, but he refused to comply and continued shouting.
At 9:03 p.m.
Officers considered the man detained.
A mesh bag called a spit mask was placed on the man’s head to protect the officers and paramedics from coming into contact with droplets coming from the man’s nose and mouth This bag is porous and does not restrict breathing.
At this time, paramedics were able to place the man on a gurney, where he continued to yell and struggle.
At 9:07 p.m.
Paramedics transported the man to a local hospital where he was sedated, assessed and released.
The man, 27-year-old Marcel Cox-Harshaw of San Diego, was cited and released for resisting arrest. An additional charge of drunk in public has been presented to the District Attorney's Office. The initial investigation indicates that drugs and or alcohol played a role in the incident.
The investigation is still ongoing. We are asking any community members who may have witnessed the incident to call the non-emergency police number at 760-931-2197 to share their accounts.
Here are some of the department’s policy that pertain to the incident
- Officers shall use only that amount of force that reasonably appears necessary given the facts and totality of the circumstances known to or perceived by the officer at the time of the event to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose.
- When determining whether to apply force and evaluating whether an officer has used reasonable force, a number of factors should be taken into consideration, as time and circumstances permit. These factors include but are not limited to:
o The apparent immediacy and severity of the threat to officers or others – Mr. Harshaw charged unarmed fire personnel while yelling profanities.
o The individual’s apparent ability to understand and comply with officer commands – Mr. Harshaw would not comply with officer commands.
o The conduct of the individual being confronted, as reasonably perceived by the officer. Mr. Harshaw was yelling and behaving aggressively toward fire personnel.
o Proximity of weapons or dangerous improvised devices. – Officers had no way of knowing what was in Mr. Harshaw’s backpack or baggy pants.
o The effects of drugs or alcohol. Mr. Harshaw appeared to be under the influence of drugs and or alcohol.
o Whether the person appears to be resisting, attempting to evade arrest by flight, or is attacking the officer. Mr. Harshaw was at no time compliant.
- The TASER device may be used in any of the following circumstances, when the circumstances perceived by the officer at the time indicate that such application is reasonably necessary to control a person:
o The subject is violent or is physically resisting. Mr. Harshaw was physically resistant and behaved aggressively toward fire personnel.
o The subject has demonstrated, by words or action, an intention to be violent or to physically resist, and reasonably appears to present the potential to harm officers, him/herself or others. – Mr. Harshaw charged fire personnel, while yelling profanities and he was not compliant with officer commands.
- Supervisory notification shall be made as soon as practicable following the application of force. A supervisor was immediately called to the scene and an investigation was opened. The investigation included
o Obtaining the basic facts.
o Collect evidence at the scene
o Ensure that all needing medical treatment are treated. Mr. Harshaw was transported to the hospital and released. An officer also received minor injuries.
o The scene was canvased for additional witnesses.
o Complete a Supervisor’s Compliant Summary Report and forward it to the Professional Standards Unit.
o Prepare Supervisor’s Use of Force Report