Man claims Merced Police used excessive force while he was on trip for tea

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Merced Police Department has launched an investigation into several of their officers after a man claimed he was a victim of excessive force while buying a drink at a gas station.

"We're looking at all of the information, whether it's the video from the store or any other video that officers have to make a determination on what transpired. We will not condone any unprofessionalism by any of our officers," Merced Police Captain Bimley West said.

The incident happened in March.

William Colbert, 39, said he went to the am/pm gas station at G St and E Olive Ave to pick up some tea and fill up his car.

Colbert said after a disagreement over the payment he asked the clerk to put the money back on his card, but that he didn't know how to give him a refund.

Wanting to film the argument, Colbert said he went out to his car to get his phone. He then said the clerk locked the doors, called the police and told them that he had a gun.

"I was worried for my life at that point because these guys are rising up, but what made me feel comfortable is that I knew one of the officers," Colbert said.

He said officers then threw him to the ground and dislocated his hand.

While being booked, he said police officers attacked him again.

West says differently. He claimed Colbert was aggressive and resistant from the start, and there was still the possibility of a weapon.

"All they wanted to do was detain Colbert to investigate, but he wouldn't let them do that, and the officers did not go in to rush Mr. Colbert," West said.

Colbert said he still has pain from the incident and is paying off medical bills.

West said investigators are interviewing at least five officers believed to be involved in the incident. They are also looking over surveillance and body camera footage.

The Merced Police Department says at this time, the officers have not been placed on administrative leave.
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