Fresno Police say suspect in violent struggle had drugs in system

FRESNO, Calif.

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Police say the struggle happened on December 2, after a woman called police saying a man tried to force his way inside her apartment and he appeared to be drunk.

Several witnesses watched and recorded the struggle. Witnesses tell Action News the officers used excessive force. "I got so upset. Believe me; I wanted to do something about it. It makes me mad, angry," said one neighbor, who didn't want to be identified.

In a police report, the officer wrote he kicked Ortega the first time after the second taser didn't work and then kicked him again after the third taser attempt. The officer wrote, "The strike was in an attempt to get Ortega to stop resisting and kicking at officers while he was on the ground."

Wednesday, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the PCP in Ortega's system could explain why the taser applications weren't effective. "I've personally been involved in physical struggles and fights with individuals under the influence of PCP. They are very difficult to control. They've been described as having super human strength," said Dyer.

Chief Dyer said an internal affairs investigation will determine whether the officers used excessive force or if their actions were justified. Mike Spicer, a retired California Highway Patrol officer with 30 years experience, said sometimes, punching and kicking may be necessary. "I know this sounds bad. Using your fist and your foot doesn't sound good, but it may be effective in order to make an effective arrest and gain compliance," said Spicer.

Spicer watched the video of the incident. He said it was clear the officers struggled to gain control of the situation. "The big concern here is getting the hands behind the back in order to put handcuffs on him and restrain the individual. To get this quickly resolved, before it escalates, not only with the suspects but with the crowd growing," said Spicer.

Eddie Ortega declined to talk to Action News on camera Tuesday but said he had been contacted by internal affairs investigators and he was in the process of hiring an attorney.

Police said he faces charges of evading arrest and being under the influence of drugs. He may also be charged with the attempted break-in.

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