News accounts of an arrest where a San Diego Police officer was punched in the face on Saturday, February 3, didn’t tell the whole story.
While I think it’s always a bad idea to punch somebody with a badge and a gun, the video shows the officer (who has yet to be named) starting the confrontation by hitting Frederick Jefferson with a police baton as he backs away. And the incident was completely unrelated to what was going on that day in Chicano Park. Also, there was no ‘violence’ at the rallies.
Here’s the Union-Tribune account of the punching incident:
A San Diego police officer was punched in the face and three people were arrested Saturday during a clash at Chicano Park between a small group holding a “Patriot Picnic” and a larger gathering of park supporters defending its cultural roots.
San Diego police reported three arrests, one for battery on a police officer. The officer suffered a bloody nose as he tried to arrest a suspect who refused an order to get out of the street, said Lt. Scott Wahl. The suspect was not injured, Wahl said.
The Southwestern Sun story starts by pointing out the punching incident took place 210 yards from Chicano Park and 50 yards beyond a police line. Jefferson, who was not, by all accounts, a participant in any of the activities taking place in the park, was jaywalking.
Here’s a snip from their story (which has many more details):
- Shortly after noon. Frederick Jefferson exits the commercial district north of the intersection of Logan Avenue and Cesar Chavez Parkway, which is still closed. He jaywalks across Logan Avenue where he is met by two SDPD officers. A video captures an officer and Jefferson engaged in a verbal altercation, then shows Jefferson backing away from the officers. One of the officers pursues Jefferson and clubs him in the head area full force with a nightstick. Jefferson counters with a forceful punch to the officer’s face, breaking his nose and some facial bones.
- Jefferson returns to the other side of Logan Avenue and is clubbed in the legs by other SDPD officers until he falls to the ground.
- Multiple videos show police piling on Jefferson, beating him and wrestling with him in a large pool of blood.
- Jefferson is incapacitated and pinned to the ground by five SDPD officers, but a female SDPD officer on the south side of the scrum charges up a Taser weapon. She discharges it into Jefferson’s back.
- Seconds later an officer on the north side of the pile up pepper sprays Jefferson in the face.
From Fox 5:
A man accused of punching a San Diego police officer in the face during a clash between two groups at Chicano Park in Barrio Logan Saturday pleaded not guilty Wednesday to resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. Frederick Jefferson was ordered held on $250,000 bail.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Riley said the officer, who has not been publicly identified, has left the hospital and is recovering at home but his injuries are significant.
Jefferson faces nine years and four months in prison if convicted.
I’m guessing the District Attorney’s next move will be to release information about Jefferson’s past criminal record, the idea being to sell a narrative that he must have deserved to get clubbed in the first place.
The injuries to the unnamed police officer were serious, including broken bones in the face. He was hospitalized initially, and according to a statement by SDPD chief Shelley Zimmerman, is expected to recover.
There is probably even more to this story. Chief Zimmerman did not respond to three requests by the Southwestern Sun for comment.
It’s doubtful that allegations of misconduct by police will result in any corrective actions.
Just look at a couple of recent examples:
Republican and interim District Attorney Summer Stephan, has yet to file charges on the Sheriff’s officer accused of sexual misconduct by 14 women, even though, the investigation –which her office participated in– was closed on January 19th.
An SDPD officer perjuring himself during court testimony caught on video against a homeless man seven months ago has yet to even be charged.
And so it goes in America’s Finest Plantation City.
There are more videos of everyday police stops at Irate Productions Facebook page.
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