OPD officer accused of using excessive force

Posted at 9:45 PM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 00:45:01-05

An Oceanside Police officer used "excessive and unreasonable force" during an incident in a harbor area sports bar last September, according to a claim in a civil lawsuit filed Monday by Christopher Vadnais.

It's a story Team 10 first brought you in November, after filing a public records request to get the surveillance video from Oceanside Police.

RELATED: Team 10: Video shows Oceanside Police officer throw punch in bar brawl

Vadnais was inside Tony's Sports Bar & Grill on September 26, when an officer encountered another patron in the bar, taking him to the ground. As other officers rushed in, one of them is seen on surveillance video brushing past Vadnais and his wife Dana. Within seconds fists were flying.

According to the lawsuit, Officer Nickolas Nunez "knocked Mrs. Vadnais into her husband when his forearm struck the back of her neck. He also stepped on her foot. Concerned that the officer had hurt his wife, Mr. Vadnais tapped Officer Nunez on the elbow to get his attention" the lawsuit claims.

According to the lawsuit, Vadnais was not in a fighting stance and did not grab the officer's arm, as some have claimed.

Vadnais is asking for unspecified monetary damages.

Oceanside Police declined to comment on the pending legal action, but Captain Fred Armijo told Team 10 the department's investigation is complete. The case file will still be reviewed by both Armijo and the Chief of Police.

A Team 10 Investigation called "Focus on Force" found that the Oceanside Police Department reported fewer uses of force than several other California Police Departments.