Fresno Police Excessive Force Investigation

February 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Another investigation is now underway into whether two Fresno Police officers crossed the line when they were trying to detain a suspect while punching him in the face.What Mayor Ashley Swearengin said is in the works right now that could change how future investigations are handled.

Mayor Swearengin said she understands officers sometimes have to use force, but she also wants to know what happened before that videotape started recording.

She believes an independent police auditor would benefit the public and police.

During Thursday afternoon's news conference Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin vowed to get answers about whether this videotaped beating of a homeless man by two Fresno Police officers was excessive or justified.

She said she was in favor of a police auditor before becoming mayor and just recently asked Chief Jerry Dyer to draft the position's responsibilities and limitations.

Chief Dyer said investigators have talked to 11 witnesses and are still trying to find the three people in the car that videotaped the beating arrest.

He wants to know what happened before the 8 minute recording that shows one officer holding down a suspect while the other repeatedly punches his face.

He said what we don't see is the man ripping off one officer's badge and taking his pen. Take a close look inside the box as the chief explains what you're seeing.

But then a few seconds later the officers have the suspect's arms behind his back, yet the officer punches him one more time.

Jacky Parks, President of the Fresno Police Officers Association said the officers in question feel they're being unfairly portrayed in the media.

He said he's confident the officers' use of force is justified.

The chief hopes to have the internal investigation wrapped up in 2 to 3 weeks.

The Fresno County District Attorney is also doing a separate investigation that will be handed over to the state attorney general.

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