Two central California police officers were indicted for beating a Black teen during a pursuit and arrest in December 2020, the San Joaquin County district attorney said on Sept. 17. Former Stockton Police Department officers Michael Stiles and Omar Villapudua were previously fired in March after it was determined that the force they used against then 17-year-old Devin Carter was outside of the department’s policy.
Tori Verber Salazar has announced that each former officer was indicted on felony counts of assault by a public officer and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury.
“This grand jury indictment reminds us all that when police use unlawful force, they undermine community trust,” she said in a statement. “As the daughter of a police officer, I know how important that responsibility is to restore community trust, safety, and honor to the profession.”
Four officers were involved in the arrest, however, only two were indicted. Lawyer John Burris represents Carter’s family, said in a statement, “District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar is to be commended for criminally prosecuting this Stockton police who brutally beat Devin Carter, a helpless teenager,” Burris said.
“This prosecution, regardless of the outcome, should send a clear message that in this county, there will be a severe price to pay for officers who use their badges to commit horrific crimes.”
Carter was pulled over in North Stockton on Dec. 30, 2020, for driving “erratically” and at a speed faster than 100 miles per hour. The teen led officers on a brief chase, during which an officer collided with a citizen’s vehicle. The officers used the PIT maneuver to stop Carter and “used force” to arrest him.
Body camera footage was released by the family’s attorney, however, it is too dark to make out many details. Police officers shout at Carter to give them his hands, he’s heard yelling, “I’m not resisting.”
“Yeah you are!” Give us your f—ing hands!” an officer says. Carter is heard crying out as several officers struggle with him in the darkness beside his vehicle.
Burris, who won a $3.8 million judgment against the Los Angeles police department after officers there beat motorist Rodney King in 1991, released photos of Carter’s face, showing purple bruising around his eyes and a boot print on his face.
Burris said Carter was terrified of what might happen to him in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and was scared to pull over in the dark. Burris was taken to the hospital before being taken into juvenile hall for evading and resisting arrest. The officers are scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 5 and the indictments will remain sealed until then.
“This is the start of something that we’ve been asking for, for police officers to be prosecuted,” George Carter, Devin Carter’s father said. “It’s just the start of a new beginning. And the city of Stockton has taken a step toward making things right.”
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Author: The Black Detour Team