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Santa Maria Police reviewing viral video of man's arrest at gunpoint

Santa Maria Police reviewing viral video of man's arrest at gunpoint


The Santa Maria Police Department is in the process of reviewing a cellphone video that recorded the violent arrest of a man following a brief vehicle pursuit on Sunday. 

According to Santa Maria Police Cmdr. Marc Schneider, the arrest occurred in a residential part of the city in the area of Barrett Street and Railroad Avenue on Oct. 20.

Schneider said the arrest followed a brief pursuit, which was initiated by a female officer in a marked Santa Maria Police patrol vehicle who observed a driver pass several cars at a stop sign near the corner of Boone Street and Western Avenue.

The driver briefly evaded the officer who suspected the driver of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to Schneider. The driver eventually gave up less than a mile away.

In the video, the driver is seen on his knees with his hands in the air while several officers point guns at him as he's instructed to lay on his stomach. The video shows what appears to be police firing pepper spray at the suspect. 

Once the suspect is on the ground, an officer is seen putting the suspect's hand behind his back, then punching his head while the suspect appears to be resisting. 

A K-9 police dog then begins lunging at and biting the suspect's leg. 

Schneider said in any use-of-force case, the procedure is to gather all police reports and observations, statements from the arresting officer, and any associated video -- including the cellphone video and dash camera footage.

According to Sgt. Nate Totorica, the officer involved in the arrest has 10 days to review the video then submit a report. 

All of the information will then be reviewed by a police department sergeant, who will pass his report up to a lieutenant. It will ultimately make its way to Schneider, who will review the report for tactics, equipment, training issues and determine whether it's within police department policy. 

That process could take several weeks, Schneider added. 

The driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI and evading a police officer, according to Totorica. 


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