Fresno Police Department faces excessive force lawsuit after video surfaces of officer punching teenager

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FRESNO, California. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer called a press conference Wednesday to address an officer’s body camera video that recently went public.

It shows gang detectives from Fresno police’s MAGEC unit pat-down 17-year-old London Wallace during a probation search at a Frenso apartment. Wallace is told to sit down. A few moments later, officer Christopher Martinez grabs Wallace by the arm and is seen repeatedly punching him. Eventually, Wallace is taken to the ground.

The incident is now the center of an excessive force lawsuit filed by Wallace’s grandmother and guardian.

“I think he was shocked by what happened and I think it will take some time emotionally for him to recover from this,” said Wallace’s attorney Nolan Kane.

Kane says there are discrepancies between the video and the police report.

“I think any rational person watching the video can see that Mr. Wallace was not a threat to anyone, he had just been patted down they found no weapons they found no drugs, he wasn’t a threat to officers he was obeying and doing what he was supposed to be doing,” said Kane.

At a press conference Wednesday, Chief Jerry Dyer gave more details about the incident. According to Dyer, Martinez felt Wallace wasn’t following directions and the teen was trying to get away.

“It’s disturbing, it’s concerning, what occurred in that video and it raises questions not only in my eyes but in the eyes of this community,” said Dyer.

Officer Martinez is on desk duty as Dyer promises a thorough investigation.

“The family is encouraged there will be an investigation and based on the amount of video evidence we hope it will be a quick and efficient process and they will have a decision soon,” said Kane.

Dyer says he has expedited the investigation so it concludes within 30 days. Investigators will analyze dozens of other body camera footage. No trial date has been set.

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