Court Appearance for Man in Controversial Video

February 23, 2009 6:37:09 PM PST
A man the subject of a controversial arrest made his first court appearance. While some call him a victim, his legal troubles are just now beginning. 52-year-old Glen Beaty made his first court appearance, for violating probation on another case that dates back several years. Beaty's attorneys say police violated his constitutional rights and are threatening to sue the city. The homeless man is now in court to address a case from the year 2004. He was convicted of threatening a police officer and sentenced to probation. Beaty failed to attend a hearing which is why he remains in jail.

Beaty's face showed no major cuts or bruises even though Fresno Police Officers were videotaped punching the man. The incident happened in early February. Peter Kapetan and Russell Cook are two attorneys representing Beaty. Cook said, "They [Fresno Police] have a conscious disregard for the rights of the mentally ill, and they have a conscious disregard for the rights of the homeless here in the City of Fresno."

Beaty arrived in court Monday to address his probation violation. While that hearing got continued, Beaty's new lawyers called this month's arrest a clear case of excessive force. The police department is conducting an outside review to determine if officers did anything wrong. Police Chief Jerry Dyer has asked the public to reserve judgment. Beaty's attorneys say he will remain in jail until they can resolve his criminal history. Kapetan said, "Obviously he has serious mental health issues that we are going to have him evaluated on those issues before we do anything with him. So, we want to first take care of mental stability before we do anything with him."

Kapetan also accused Fresno Police Officers of abusing their authority in a separate, federal lawsuit. The case involves Marcus Tafoya a former officer who is facing criminal charges for excessive force. Kapetan said, "I'm really concerned that we are starting to see a pattern here by Fresno Police Officers of conducting themselves inappropriately."

Beaty's defense team plans to file a claim with the city alleging officers violated his rights. City leaders have repeatedly asked the public not to judge the entire police department by the actions of a few officers.

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