Medford, OR – Attorneys for a man who was arrested while high on methamphetamine in January released dashcam and cell phone video of the incident and announced plans to file a lawsuit for excessive force (video below).
The incident occurred shortly after midnight on Jan. 15 at the Circle K located at Central Avenue and Barnett Road, KDRV reported.
Medford police officers responded to the convenience store for a trespassing call about a man with a dog who had gone behind the counter.
When officers arrived at the store, they approached the suspect who was later identified as Noel Palomera-Vasquez, KMVU reported.
Palomera-Vasquez told the officers that he had just smoked methamphetamine.
At first, the suspect appeared to be cooperative when officers asked him to walk out of the store with them, the video showed.
But after the officer and the suspect got outside the store, Palomera-Vasquez ceased following commands and didn’t seem able to function when the officer asked him to walk to the police car.
Palomera-Vasquez had a dog on a chain in one hand and pulled a rolling suitcase with the other, the video showed.
When the suspect kept trying to do something with his phone instead of walking to the police car, the officer asked him what was going on.
“What are you doing?” the officer asked calmly.
“It’s just… just for me,” Palomera-Vasquez said as he buried his nose in his cell phone.
“What drugs did you take today?” the officer asked in the video.
“Meth, sir. I’m just tripping so hard,” the suspect told him.
“Obviously,” the officer replied, and then got more specific with his commands. “Walk over to my car. I want you to use your two feet and walk over to my car.”
The suspect refused or was unable to cooperate when the officer tried to walk him to the police SUV parked not far away, so the officer eventually pushed him down and told him to sit on the curb.
The officer tried to take the Palomera-Vasquez into custody but the man pulled away and frantically tried to make a phone call.
The video showed Palomera-Vasquez resisted arrest and made it impossible for the officer to handcuff him.
The two were still struggling when backup arrived and another officer jumped in to assist.
Palomera-Vasquez began fighting even harder when the second officer arrived to help, the video showed.
One of the officers deployed a Taser at Palomera-Vasquez but it did not appear to have any effect on the man.
A chaotic scene erupted as the suspect’s dog started jumping everywhere and several bystanders stepped in to grab the animal’s chain and pull him out of the fray.
The video showed the officers delivered a number of blows to the suspect’s head as they rolled around on the pavement in the gas station trying to get him under control.
A third officer arrived to assist and eventually the three officers were able to get handcuffs on Palomera-Vasquez, the video showed.
It took three officers holding the suspect to keep him in place as yet more officers arrived and brought them leg shackles and a hobble to help control Palomera-Vasquez.
The suspect screamed for help and continued to resist arrest and officers told him they had called an ambulance for him if he was hurt.
Medford police said one of the officers involved in the arrest was injured by the suspect in the fray, KMVU reported.
“The individual was physically resistive when officers attempted to take him into custody, resulting in an exchange on the ground,” the police department said in a statement. “During the exchange, focused blows and a Taser were utilized in order to obtain control of the suspect. After the suspect was successfully restrained, at the request of Medford Police Department, he was immediately checked by independent medical personnel.”
Palomera-Vasquez was transported to the hospital with “abrasions” and treated before he was booked into the Jackson County Jail, KMVU reported.
He was charged with assaulting a public safety officer, resisting arrest, interfering with a peace officer, and second-degree criminal trespass, KDRV reported.
Medford police said they conducted a review of the incident and had determined the officers’ actions were within department policy.
Matthew Rowan and Christine Herbert, attorneys for Palomera-Vasquez, announced they are planning to file a lawsuit against the city for excessive force and said the video “speaks for itself,” KMVU reported.
Herbert said her client came away from the encounter with head and back injuries and broken ribs, according to KDRV.
Watch the incident unfold din the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content and Obscene Language: