WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION) Watsonville police have released body cam and dash cam footage after claims that an officer hit and threw a child to the ground proved to be false.
Police said a Watsonville resident who was arrested claimed the officer hit and threw his 3-year-old son to the ground during an incident on Feb. 15, and those claims circulated on social media.
The man was initially pulled over for having tinted windows near Sudden Street and Palm Avenue, but then the officer said he smelled marijuana.
Body camera video shows the driver getting out of the car after officers repeatedly told him to stay in the driver's seat, and during the incident, the body camera fell on the ground.
It also shows two women who walk up to the officers wanting to take the child, but they refused to identify themselves to police. It was then that the man in the car then got out and walked to the back door. The concern for officers in that situation was that he could be going back to get a weapon or get rid of evidence.
Dash cam video starts as the suspect gets out of the car and shows what happens after the body camera fell. One of the officers appears to take the child from the backseat, and the suspect agrees to let the women take the child. The officer tries to hand the boy to the women, but they hesitate and record the incident.
Once the boy was handed to the women, police said the officers did not touch him again. Police also said they asked the women to take the boy away from the scene multiple times, but they decided to stay.
"I think it's unfortunate in general that that situation took place. But at the same time, it highlights the importance of having those video cameras on the police officers because it could catch whatever actually takes place," said Francisco Diaz, a Watsonville resident. "I think the police department did the right thing by disclosing the video because now everyone in the community can get an actual account of what happened."
Eventually, the child's mother picked him up.
The man was arrested for obstructing an investigation and cited for having an open container of marijuana in a vehicle.
See the full video here: