A California cop claimed a 17-year-old boy took a “fighting stance,” making him fear the boy was going to throw him off a second-floor balcony which is why he had to punch him in the face several times.
But police body cam footage proves that to be a lie.
Now the teen, London Wallace, is suing the Fresno Police Department and the officer, Christopher Martinez, as well as 25 other cops identified as John Does in the lawsuit.
The incident took place January 23 as dozens of cops swarmed an apartment building for what they call “gang-related” activity, according to the New York Times.
Wallace was one of several teens attending a birthday party inside an apartment. He was playing video games with a younger relative when police ordered him out of the apartment and searched him without a warrant.
The video, posted above, begins with two cops frisking Wallace as they hold his arms above his head before directing him to sit against a wall with other teens. Wallace begins to do as they say as the two cops turn from him, obviously not considering him a threat.
That was when Martinez comes out of nowhere and begins grabbing onto him, directing him to sit down even though he looked about to sit down. The video shows Wallace mouthed something to the officer but the camera did not capture what he said.
But in they hyperbolic minds of cops, that probably constitutes a “fighting stance.”
According to the New York Times:
In a report Officer Martinez wrote on the event, which he described as “gang related,” he said that he had “grabbed” Mr. Wallace because it looked like he was not listening to orders to sit down. He wrote that Mr. Wallace took a “fighting stance,” and he feared the teenager was going to push officers over the railing.
“I punched Wallace approximately three times in the face in order to get him off me and to back him up,” Officer Martinez wrote. He said Mr. Wallace continued to resist, so he “struck” him “approximately two more times” when he was on the ground.
Another officer, R. Loza, wrote in his report that he had used his “forearm to strike” Mr. Wallace twice while trying to get control during the struggle.
Chief Dyer said at the news conference that further “appropriate action” could be taken depending on the results of the investigation, which will be based on interviews and more scrutiny of the videos.
Wallace was charged with resisting arrest but the charge was later dismissed. Martinez has been placed on “modified duty.”
The Fresno Police Department has long been beleaguered by scandal and corruption for years. In 2017, the second-highest ranking cop in the department, Deputy Chief Keith Foster, was sentenced to four years in prison for conspiring to deal marijuana and cocaine.
The video above is shortened and includes the incident in slow motion to show Wallace never took a fighting stance.