3rd officer testifies in Fresno PD excessive force case

January 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Late this afternoon Michael Manfredi took the stand in his own defense. He is the third officer to testify in the federal trial.

Sergeant Mike Manfredi has been an officer for 27 years. Thursday he described the duties of a Fresno Police sergeant and what he expects of officers who work for him. He wasted no time criticizing the officer who turned him and three other officers in.

Manfredi answered questions firmly Thursday afternoon when he took the stand. After telling the court in depth about his training and areas of expertise, his attorney immediately questioned him about officer Martin Van Overbeek. He is the Fresno police officer who first went to internal affairs to report claims of excessive force. We are not showing Van Overbeek's face because of concerns of retaliation.

Manfredi initially said it surprised him when Van Overbeek signed up to work under him because he had expressed several performance problems with him, even making an example out of his inadequacies during several briefings.

Attorney Marshall Hodgkins has represented Manfredi during prior hearings and feels the whistle blower officer has an underlying motive.

"The point of his attorney bringing that out is to show Van Overbeek had on more than one occasion tussled with Sergeant Manfredi over issues and there was tension between them," said Marshall Hodgkins, Plymale's attorney.

Manfredi had asked the court to wear his dress uniform during the trial, but prosecutors objected unless he removed all pins and special medals from it. Since many are sewn on, he decided not to wear it.

Earlier in the day, K-9 Officer Sean Plymale wrapped up his testimony. He is accused of planting evidence, which according to testimony was a beer bottle and also obstructing justice.

When Plymale was asked why he wanted the beer bottle collected as evidence, he said, "My goal is to represent the scene as I saw it. I'm not the judge, I'm not the jury, I'm telling you what I saw."

Manfredi will be back on the stand Friday. He is expected to address the report writing process. Officers Chris Coleman and Sean Plymale have already testified they talked to each other before changing significant details about this arrest in their report.


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