In the video, darkness makes it hard to see exactly what happened as Fresno police struggled with Eddie Ortega at an apartment complex in East Central Fresno last week. But you can hear he was in pain as officers tried to subdue him. Ortega suffered a broken wrist and had to get four stitches. A police report obtained by Action News confirms he was kicked in the face. Several neighbors pulled out cell phones to take pictures and video, including Jose Renteria. "I was shaking. I was shaking. I couldn't speak. I was speechless ... shocked," said Renteria.
Another witness caught images on her cell phone. "It's too much. He wasn't resisting or anything," said Alvarado.
Ortega claims he was attacked from behind last Thursday. He said he thought he was being robbed and he didn't realize it was police kicking him until he was loaded into an ambulance. "I was trying to scream for help. I was like, 'Why are you doing this?' I was going back and forth trying to see who was doing it. But they wouldn't let me see," said Ortega.
Fresno police have a different version of events. They say they were called to the apartment complex after Ortega knocked on a woman's door, clearly drunk. "Initially she opened the door when she came to the door. She noticed he was extremely intoxicated and shut the door. And after she did that, he continued to try to gain entry into her apartment," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
Dyer said the two officers who responded tried to make contact with Ortega and a struggle ensued when he spun around ready to fight. Ortega ended up on the ground. "During that violent struggle officers attempted to use their taser on the individual multiple times. However, it did not have the desired result, in terms of gaining his compliance," said Dyer.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Ortega was tased three times and an officer kicked him when they couldn't get control of his hands. Action News showed the chief the video Tuesday night. He said the audio was consistent with the police report. "There is no doubt this was a violent struggle. And I have no doubt that is what the individuals that were videotaping this with their cellular phones... I have no doubt that's what they saw," said Dyer.
Those who saw Ortega on the ground said the force used by officers was too much. "It was wrong. I wanted to help him. But I was scared for myself," said Vanessa Noriega.
Ortega faces a felony charge of resisting arrest. But so far he has not been charged with an attempted burglary, the original complaint that brought officers to the apartment complex.NEWS BY LOCATION | ABC30 BLOGS | DISCUSSION FORUMS
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