Video: California police officer fired after kicking the robbery suspect in the head
A California police officer was fired this week for an unreported arrest of a burglary suspect who then filed a lawsuit against the Department for uncovered excessive force.
The arrest took place on June 5, 2019, and was captured on the dash-board camera and body camera. The 15-minute video was recently posted on the Police Department’s YouTube channel.
The officer, Bryan Schmidt and unidentified supervisors were called to an alleged robbery and assault at a Burlington Coat Factory. According to Elk Grove Police Chief, Timothy Albright, both officers failed to report the excessive force used during the arrest.
The responding officers arrived at the scene while the robbery was in progress and arrested Juan Mendoza.
In October 2019 the police abuse of power came to light after Mendoza filed a lawsuit seeking monetary damage for the injuries he sustained while being taken into custody. And Albright learned what happened.
The police camera footage, released by police during the early stages of litigation, shows Schmidt walking towards Mendoza already lying face down on the ground in the parking lot.
"Hands out man! Today is not going to be a good day for you, hands out son," Schmidt can be heard saying.
"What followed was a use of force by an officer that has been determined to be against department policy and not in line with any training provided by our department," said Albright in a press release.
The video then shows Schmidt kicking Mendoza in the head. The blood on Mendoza’s face can be seen later in the video from Schmidt’s camera, when the suspect is already under the arrest, sitting in the police cruiser.
Schmidt admitted to kicking Mendoza.
"He was just like smiling, giving a smirk and bam! I f***** kick him in his head," Schmidt is heard saying on his body-camera video while speaking to an unidentified police officer on what happened during the arrest.
When Mendoza was taken to jail, he suffered head injuries and vomited. He was eventually taken to the hospital where a CT scan revealed he had a serious brain injury that gave him a "50/50 chance" of survival.
Mendoza's civil attorney, Mark Merin, said initially they attempted to cover themselves by saying that something happened in the jail. "Then they concluded they were liable,” Merin added. “He's doing much better now." The county covered Mendoza's brain surgery bill.
"The supervising officer failed to identify the use of force, failed to report the use of force and failed to complete an investigation in accordance with policy," Albright said in the video posted Thursday. "This failure not only did not allow a thorough review of the force but exposed this city to unnecessary liability."
"After a thorough internal investigation that focused on policy, procedure, and training, Schmidt and an unidentified supervisor are no longer employed with the Elk Grove Police Department," Albright said in a press release.
"The actions that night were not congruent with the Elk Grove Police Department’s mission, vision, and values," added Albright. "Members of the Elk Grove Police Department are dedicated to serving with empathy, integrity, and professionalism."