Man Punched by Fresno Police Leads to Federal Lawsuit

October 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A controversial police arrest has landed in federal court. Attorneys for the man punched by police have filed a lawsuit against the City of Fresno claiming officers violated his rights.Glen Beaty is the man being punched in that video. Beaty's lawsuit comes while the search for the city's first police auditor enters its final stages.

Beaty's attorneys feel the video taped arrest is a clear case of excessive force. They want better training for officers to prevent situations like the one caught on tape. Fresno's Mayor is in the final stage of interviewing a police auditor.

An unknown person video taped Glen Beaty's arrest in February. A Fresno Police Officer is seen here punching Beaty in the face while the man lies on the ground. Attorney Peter Kapetan filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Fresno specifically naming Scott Payn and Jeffrey Gross the officers who conducted the arrest. Kapetan said, "We have no problem with the initial contact the officers made with Mr. Beaty. It was what happened after the initial contact and the way they arrested him. We feel that it was excessive force."

Police eventually took Beaty into custody. He was charged with a misdemeanor and a probation violation. But a judge found him incompetent to stand trial because the man suffers from a mental illness. Beaty is now at a state hospital undergoing treatment. When the videotape first surfaced, Fresno's Police Chief tried to explain why such force would be used on a 53-year-old man. Dyer declined to comment for this story. An internal affairs investigation was conducted but the results were never made public.

Fresno's Mayor Ashley Swearengin is in the process of interviewing candidates for the city's first ever police auditor. The mayor hopes to name a finalist in two weeks for a position that in the future will review cases like Beaty's. Swearengin said, "Their job is to review our internal affairs, make sure all the complaints that are received either from officers or from citizens are reviewed in a thorough, fair and object manner."

The mayor would not tell me who are the finalists for the auditor position. At first, Mayor Swearengin planned to name someone by October 1, but she says it has been difficult finding the right candidate. As for the lawsuit, Beaty's attorney did not ask for a specific amount of money in damages.



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