NewsLocal NewsNorth County News


Oceanside Police Chief concerned about department's recent tasing incident

Posted at 6:01 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 21:06:18-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy wrote a letter to Oceanside residents saying he was concerned after watching a video of one of his officers tasing a man to the ground.

The letter comes after the department released body camera footage, just two days after the incident. Chief McCoy has since asked the Professional Standards Unit to review the case.

A man topples to the ground after being tased by an Oceanside police officer. On Tuesday afternoon, officers learned about a man armed with a knife, punching, stabbing, and attempting to carjack several people in the Mesa Margarita neighborhood. When officers arrived, they found the suspect, David Avila.

In the video released on the department's twitter page, you can see two perspectives of the incident. One was from the body camera of the officer who deployed his taser. The other was a cell phone video, shot by a citizen.

During a heated altercation, the video shows Avila with his hands up, kicking what looks to be a knife towards the officer in front of him. At the same time, the officer switches to his less-lethal option, the taser.

"Stay back. Stay back! Down on your knees!" the officer yelled.

Avila then takes two steps toward the officer, stops, and is then shot by a taser.

Two days after the incident, McCoy not only released the footage but said in a statement, "I have had the opportunity to review this video and it has raised concerns to me."

Retired San Diego Police lethal force instructor, Ray Shay, says it could be that the officer tased the suspect who already had his hands up, from the front. Under the department's Policy and Procedures Manual, it states:

"A TASER should be aimed at a suspect's upper torso and, when tactically possible, should be aimed at the suspect's back. This provides a larger target and avoids possible injury to a suspect's eyes. (Revised 07/01)"

However, Shay believes this was justified.

"With the taser to the front, and then lethal option behind him, and the bean bag option to the left, in this challenging circumstance, the officers did the best they can do to safely take the suspect into custody," Shay said.

Barry Pollard, formerly with the San Diego Citizens Advisory Board on Police Community Relations, says what bothered him was what happened as officers subdued Avila.

"You would think, in these days, nobody's knee would come close to the neck are," Pollard said. "It looked like a reaction is what it looked like, then he caught himself and moved his knee."

However, Pollard says because the knee was not directly on the neck, he does not see this as a blatant violation.

ABC 10News reached out to Oceanside Police to see exactly what parts of the video concerned the Chief. We did not get a response.

The suspect was taken to the hospital but was cleared for booking. He is being held on one million dollars bail.