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Northern California Police Officer Charged With Using Excessive Force In DUI Arrest

Excessive force is when a police officer uses force beyond what a police officer should reasonably believe is necessary. A police officer may be held liable for using excessive force during an arrest, traffic stop, or other detentions–such as during an Illinois DUI arrest. A police officer can also be liable for failing to prevent or explicitly endorsing another officer’s use of force. While excessive force is typically a civil charge, there are related criminal charges, such as assault by a police officer.

This fall, a 41-year-old Northern California police officer was arrested for assaulting a DUI suspect with his baton. The victim was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries that were not life-threatening. After being cleared by the doctors, he was taken to jail on DUI charges, failure to yield, and resisting arrest. The victim claimed that in beating him with the baton, the officer broke the victim’s arm and fractured his finger. He continues to deal with emotional trauma resulting from the incident.

The Rocklin Police Officer was taken into custody in late September 2017. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily harm, filing a false police report, and assault under the color of authority. The last charge is defined as follows by the California Penal Code:

“Every public officer who, under color of authority, without lawful necessity, assaults or beats any person, is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”

Following the DUI arrest, assisting officers reported to their supervisor that the offending officer was using his baton in an excessive manner. After reviewing video footage from the arrest, the Placer County police chief requested that the district attorney’s office begin an investigation. Shortly thereafter, the prosecutor’s office found that the officer’s actions were “criminal” and pressed charges.

The officer was arraigned in mid-November in Placer County Superior Court on felony counts of assault by a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon, and filing a false police report. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

The victim in this case also filed a civil claim against the city of Rocklin, deeming the officer’s actions “unprovoked,” “reckless,” and “savage.” The victim also filed claims against the assisting officers for failure to intervene.

The video of the incident has not been made public, and the District Attorney’s office would not comment on whether it will be made public.

If you were harmed by a police officer while being arrested for DUI in Illinois, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Harvatin Law Offices, PC skillfully represents Illinois residents in their DUI cases. To learn more, and to set up a free initial consultation, contact the office online or call 217.525.0520.

More Blog Posts:

Illinois Supreme Court Reverses Grant of DUI Defendant’s Suppression Motion, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, February 1, 2018

Washington Supreme Court Holds Random Urine Testing of DUI Probationer is Constitutionally Sound, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, November 2, 2017.

State Appeals Court Upholds Polo Mogul’s DUI Manslaughter Conviction, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, October 2, 2017.


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