CLOVIS, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – New video showing a Clovis Police officer punching a suspect during an arrest is surfacing on social media.
“They over there fighting. Why are they punching him?,” can be heard in a video taken by Dazhane Henry of the incident.
The video shows multiple officers on top of a man near Gettysburg and Peach avenues. One of the officers delivers several punches to the man while three other officers hold him down to the ground.
Clovis Police spokesperson Jim Munro said while the video may look disturbing the actions taken were not against department protocol.
“It is important for the public to know we are dealing with a gentleman who is a violent felon, who is on probation for assaulting police officers,” said Munro. “Almost every time we contact him he fights with us and we had one officer out there with him doing the best he could to control him. So like I said, use of force never looks good when we have to use it, but unfortunately yesterday it was necessary and did eventually get this guy into custody.”
Munro said on Tuesday the suspect, John Bartram who is in his 50s, was walking through the intersection and appeared to be on drugs.
Munro said Bartram took off running, the officer chased him to the 7-Eleven and back to the intersection.
“A fight ensued,” said Munro. “The gentleman was resisting. Our officer got back up and attempted to tase the suspect. The taser was ineffective. The gentleman was trying to move the taser prongs from his body.”
Munro said that when backup arrived, the officers tried to handcuff the suspect but he put his arms in an x shape across his chest with his fists balled up.
“At that point, the officers delivered what we call distraction strikes and that is what you saw on the video,” said Munro. “Those distraction strikes are meant to distract the suspect so that the hands will become free, which is exactly what happened. They were able to get his hands and of course attempt to handcuff him after that. The social media videos don’t show everything. What we are able to see in our body camera videos is the suspect trying to bite one of the officers, attempting to grab the taser of one of the officers, removing the prongs, kicking the officers and clenching his arms to where he was resisting,”
Munro said the officer’s actions were reviewed and determined to be in compliance with the department’s policy under pain compliance techniques.
In the manual it reads:
“Pain compliance techniques may be effective in controlling a physically or actively resisting
individual. Officers may only apply those pain compliance techniques for which they have
successfully completed department-approved training. Officers utilizing any pain compliance
technique should consider:
(a) The degree to which the application of the technique may be controlled given the level
(b) Whether the person can comply with the direction or orders of the officer.
(c) Whether the person has been given sufficient opportunity to comply. The application of any pain compliance technique shall be discontinued once the officer determines that compliance has been achieved.”
The suspect was taken to the hospital with an arm injury and bruises. He is waiting to be booked into the Fresno County Jail for charges of assaulting a peace officer and resisting arrest.
Munro said Bartram has been arrested over 15 times in the past two years. Munro said most of those charges were drug-related.