Contra Costa County, CA — The taxpayers of Contra Costa County will soon be shelling out some serious settlement money after a teenager was brutally choked until he fell unconscious and then beaten even more after — by a cop’s flashlight. Body camera footage from the disturbing incident shows that after cops beat Ricardo Hernandez, then 19, they lied in their police reports to cover their crimes and justify their false arrest.
In one of the first of its kind cases, a jury has found that officers at the scene that night, failed to intervene and stop what jurors believe was excessive force by a Contra Costa County Sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop.
The verdict was made in civil court and calls for Hernandez to receive $500,000 in damages.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Federal Court, Hernandez was a passenger in the backseat of a stolen car which he did not know was stolen. In fact, none of the occupants knew it was stolen. Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Battles pulled the car over after noticing it was driving with no lights. When he ran the plates, he found the car was stolen and called for backup.
As the video shows, all the teens were ordered out of the car one by one at gunpoint. Hernandez complied with the orders to walk backward with his hands on his head. However, as the video shows, instead of handcuffing the compliant teen, Battles put him in a “carotid hold” — a type of neck restraint — until Hernandez lost consciousness.
“I don’t feel I did anything wrong,” Hernandez said. “I was a little scared because there were a lot of officers.”
As Mercury News reported:
Video from a police body camera reviewed by this news organization shows some of the scene of the arrest, including a clip where at least one deputy can be heard saying “he’s out, he’s out, he’s out.”
The lawsuit argues that when the deputy said “he’s out,” referring to Hernandez, Battles knew that meant Hernandez was unconscious but that Battles continued to instruct him to give his left hand to be handcuffed.
After the deputies repeatedly demand Hernandez “stop resisting” in the video, one can be seen hitting him with a flashlight.
The lawsuit alleges that Battles struck Hernandez in the head and neck six times with his flashlight, and another deputy, Joseph Anderson, beat Hernandez’s right shoulder area.
Read More: Jury Finds Officers at Fault