MTS investigation downtown use-of-force incident between security, smoker

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-13 21:28:50-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego transportation officials are investigating a use-of-force incident by MTS security reported this week at a downtown transit center.

A man was reportedly smoking on the platform at the 12th & Imperial Transit Center and tried to evade arrest, according to Rob Schupp with MTS. Smoking on a transit center platform is prohibited.

Several security guards employed by MTS tried to handcuff the man and forced him to the ground to handcuff him.

One man passing by with his children as the incident took place said guards were using excessive force, Schupp said. MTS Chief of Police Manuel Guaderrama said there was also a report that that man was harassed by guards.

MTS officials said they are interviewing the individuals involved and investigating, Guaderrama said:

“MTS takes very seriously its mission to provide for the safety and security of its patrons and people at our transit stations. We will determine all the facts and take appropriate actions. We are also investigating a claim that security guards harassed a man walking past the incident with his children."

It's unclear how many guards were involved in the incident. Schupp told 10News it took place after a baseball game so the area was crowded.

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Councilmember Georgette Gómez said the matter was being taken seriously.

“I am deeply troubled about the situation with MTS Officers using excessive force and expect a full investigation into the matter. As Chair, I will ensure that MTS Officers act appropriately in all situations and treat everyone with dignity and respect.”

It's also not yet clear whether the man was only detained or arrested.