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Watsonville Police: Claims that officer hit, threw child false

watsonville false claims still
Watsonville Police

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:

Claims against officer determined to be false following thorough investigation and body-cam review

What started as a simple traffic violation escalated within minutes and resulted in the arrest of a Watsonville resident.That resident is now claiming that an officer on scene hit and threw his three-year-old son to the ground. These false claims were plastered all over social media, prompting many upset and concerned community members to reach out to us.Any time there are serious concerns over our officers’ actions, we investigate and share as much information with you as possible. However, it is also important to address concerns based on false accusations that negatively affect the relationship between our department and the community.We are sharing the following body-cam and dash-cam footage of the interactions with the suspect and his three-year-old son on 02/15/2020. We hope by watching, many of your questions and concerns will be answered.The suspect was ultimately arrested for obstructing an investigation. Officers also cited him for having an open container (marijuana) in a vehicle.ESPAÑOLLo que comenzó como una simple infracción de tránsito se intensificó en minutos y resultó en el arresto de un residente de Watsonville.Ese residente ahora afirma que un oficial en la escena golpeó y aventó a su hijo de tres años al suelo. Las alegaciones falsas fueron difundidas en las redes sociales, causando que varios residentes molestos y preocupados se pusieran en contacto con nosotros.Cada vez que hay serias preocupaciones sobre las acciones de nuestros oficiales, investigamos y compartimos tanta información como sea posible. Sin embargo, también es importante abordar preocupaciones basadas en acusaciones falsas que afectan negativamente la relación entre nuestro departamento y la comunidad.Estamos compartiendo los siguientes videos de las cámaras corporales de los oficiales y de la cámara de una patrulla de las interacciones con el sospechoso y su hijo de tres años el 15/02/2020. Esperamos que al ver los videos, muchas de sus preguntas y preocupaciones sean respondidas.El sospechoso fue arrestado por obstruir una investigación. Los oficiales también le dieron una infracción por tener un contenedor abierto (marihuana) en un vehículo.

Posted by Watsonville Police Department on Thursday, March 5, 2020
Crime / Local / Must-See / Santa Cruz County / Top Stories / Video

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

Josh Kristianto

Josh Kristianto is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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