Arizona Sheriff's deputy who tackled teenager with no arms and legs will not face criminal charges
The sheriff’s deputy who tackled a 15-year-old teen boy with no arms and legs on September and then slammed another teenager’s face into a wall won’t be charged with any crime, according to the Pima county Attorney’s Office.
The incident with the Pima County Sheriff’s deputy Manuel Van Santen tackling a 15-year-old was filmed and brought national security to the department. The days after the video was published Van Santen got under the investigation and was placed on administrative leave for his actions.
However, on Tuesday, chief trial counsel Nicol Green noted that the amount of force used by Van Santen to restrain the teenager was necessary. Green sent a letter to Sheriff’s Office in which she said that Attorney’s Office declined to charge against the deputy.
"In order to pursue criminal charges, the state must have not just probable cause, but a reasonable likelihood of proving to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the physical force used was not immediately necessary to prevent [the teenager] from leaving the kitchen and again threatening the employee," Green wrote in the letter shared with Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall. "That high burden cannot be met in this case."
Van Santen will not either face any charges for shoving another teenager’s face into a wall because "while the video evidence does not corroborate resistance." Green claimed that the video doesn’t definitely shows that the teenager was not resisting.
"The mere possibility that the level of force used was excessive is not a sufficient basis upon which to file criminal charges against the deputy," Green wrote.
The incident with the controversial arrest happened on September 26, when the Sheriff’s Office received a complaint of a disturbed limbless teenager, who was yelling after learning that he had been suspended and could not go back to school until Monday. The caller said that the teenager threatened to knock her down so that is why she reported of him.
Van Santen arrived at about 10 a.m. on that day. The teenager, whose name is Immanuel, tried to move away from the deputy but was held down. The deputy violently pushed his body on top of Immanuel and pinned the upset teenager’s face into the ground.
When Immanuel stopped trying to resist, Van Santen got off him and stood back up. Then he leaned down and shouted and cursed at Immanuel:
“I will raise my voice to you whenever the fuck I want, you understand?”
The video of the incident was shot by another 16-year-old boy on his cellphone. When this teenager attempted to comment on the happening, Van Santen told him to “shut the hell up,” and threatened to arrest him too.
There is another video shot by another group home resident. This video shows that the boy was complying with the deputy with his arms behind his back when Van Santen suddenly slammed the teen’s face into a wall.
The charges against Immanuel were dropped after the officials reviewed the video.
Asked about his actions after the criminal investigation began, Van Santen told the Associated Press, "I can look my wife and my children in the face tonight and know that I did my job to the best of my ability. I look forward to clearing my name and returning to duty."
Despite Van Santen won’t face charges the internal investigation against his is still ongoing and he remains on an administrative leave since November. It also became known that Van Santen can potentially have disciplinary action after the investigation. Meanwhile, the Pima County Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the deputy’s further future with the department.