Anaheim PD launches use-of-force investigation; burglary suspect left in coma

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Anaheim police have launched a use-of-force investigation after arresting a burglary suspect, who is now in serious condition at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach.

Officers were called to the 1300 block of S. East Gates Street just after midnight on March 2. The woman said there was a suspicious man in her backyard, and he was trying to break into her car.

"She just saw some guy trying to break into her home so she got into the house quickly," said Emily Nguyen, a neighbor.

When officers arrived, the suspect ran from them, police said. They chased him to the 3000 block of W. Ball Road, where he fell, and officers tried to take him into custody.

Police said the appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was struggling with them, at times trying to reach for their holsters or tasers. During the struggle, he went into full cardiac arrest.

Paramedics were called and managed to resuscitate him, and he was taken to the hospital in stable condition. The man is identified as 35-year-old transient Christopher Eisinger.

All of the officers involved were wearing body cameras, but the video was not released. Acting Chief Julian Harvey said he's reviewed the video and said his officers followed protocol.

"I saw no application of the carotid restraint, use of impact weapons, use of strikes, use of a taser, nothing like that," said Harvey, adding his officers showed great restraint.

Officers said they found drug paraphernalia on Eisinger that night.

The suspect is in stable condition but friends said his condition has worsened, telling ABC7 he's now in a coma with brain swelling.

They added that Eisinger had fallen on hard times and gotten involved with drugs. Officers said he's had several encounters with Orange County law enforcement in the last few years.

Eisinger's friends question the police department's account of what happened and want more answers.

"Got beat up and is in a coma unconscious because he took billy clubs to the head and had no weapon," said Harry Holmes Jr.

"Let's see the footage, lets see what really happened. I don't understand why he has brain swelling and he's in a coma if you didn't strike him," said Matthew Legault.

It will now be up to the Orange County District Attorney's Office to decide whether or not to release the body camera video.
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