Video shows San Bernardino police officers dislocating man's elbow during arrest

WARNING: This footage contains material that some viewers may find disturbing.
GARDENA, Calif. (KABC) -- A stomach-turning arrest was caught on camera as a San Bernardino police officer dislocated a man's elbow while he's being taken into custody.

A neighbor captured the scene after 30-year-old Jesus Castaneda led police on a short car chase last October. In the video, Castaneda is seen screaming in pain while he is on the ground.

"When I first saw that video, it was very disturbing and shocking," said Michael Munoz, one of Castaneda's defense attorneys.

"You not only see what happens to him, but you can hear what happens to him, and you see the position he's lying in at the time. He's on his stomach," defense attorney Warren Ellis said.

Once Castaneda was in custody, he was dragged into the patrol car. He was later convicted of evading police, assaulting a police officer and grand theft auto. He is currently behind bars.

His attorneys said the disturbing video shows the officers went too far, and they plan on filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of San Bernardino and the police department.

"I don't exonerate what he did. He committed a crime. But, it doesn't give the police the right to use excessive force, to be punching him, dislocating his arm, kicking him and then dragging him across the floor," Munoz said.

The San Bernardino Police Department is investigating the incident. The attorneys said they plan to file their lawsuit within a few weeks.

San Bernardino Police Chief released the following statement Friday regarding the incident:

The San Bernardino Police Department was recently made aware of a video that depicts some of our police officers involved in a use of force while attempting to arrest a suspect following a pursuit last year. The Department was aware of the arrest and the use of force that took place in October of 2014, per policy and normal protocol the incident was documented in police reports completed by the involved officers. Following the arrest, the case was submitted to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office. The case was filed and the suspect ultimately pled guilty to charges of assaulting a police officer (PC 69), auto theft (VC 10851), evading (VC 2800.2) and driving on the wrong side of road while evading (VC 2800.4), Court case FSB1404713.

The San Bernardino Police Department takes every use of force seriously and it also documents and reviews officers' actions involved in those force incidents. Following this incident the use of force was reviewed by supervisors and commander(s) in the involved officer's chain of command. We were not aware of the existence of video footage until it appeared on the news and are now attempting to obtain an unedited version of the video. The San Bernardino Police Department has a well-established policy regarding the use and application of force by our police officers and we have a well-established review process in place to ensure that policy is followed. If we receive an unedited version of the video that is in conflict with information in the initial reports then we will investigate those discrepancies. In light of the impending litigation implied by the suspect's attorneys in this case it would be inappropriate to comment any further on the particulars of this case.

I am sensitive to the fact that law enforcement officers and departments throughout the United States are being scrutinized for their actions. It is absolutely appropriate that citizens demand accountability and fairness from those empowered with policing authority in our communities. Police officers make decisions every day that carry constitutional implications and are often expected to make those decisions in a split second - abuses of that authority are not acceptable and nor should they be acceptable.

The San Bernardino Police Department is an organization committed to providing the best possible service to the citizens of our community; we are also committed to fairness, transparency in our processes and accountability to our community.


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