Barstow Police Officer Beat Gary Christian With Baton During Arrest By East Main Street
BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA (August 22, 2023) – An unarmed black man identified as Gary Christian was injured after being beaten by a Barstow police officer during an arrest by East Main Street.
San Bernardino County officials are saying that the incident began around 4:00 p.m. on Friday. A Barstow officer made contact with Gary Christian and attempted to place him under arrest.
The officer deployed his taser which was ineffective. It was at this point that the officer pulled out his baton and started beating the victim.
The assault continued after Gary Christian had already fallen to the ground. He was hit several more times by the police officer’s baton.
Another officer then arrived at the scene and quickly placed the suspect under arrest. The Barstow Police Department has a video of the incident and said that they would review what happened.
However, they later released a statement and said that the use of force was “within Barstow Police Department policy and current law.” A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Excessive Force By Barstow Police Officers
Far too many people are the victims of excessive force by police officers. A large proportion of use-of-force incidents occur with minorities. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, “Only 2% of people who had any contact with police experienced the nonfatal threat or use of force by police in the past year, but this aggression fell disproportionately on Black, Hispanic, and “Other” (non-Asian, non-white) people.” Black people were also more likely to experience police misconduct such as the use of racial slurs. There are a number of ways that a police officer may have utilized excessive force.
- An officer may have struck a suspect when they were already subdued.
- An officer may have used pepper spray or chemical agents when a suspect was complying.
- An officer may have held a suspect in a stressful position such as a choke-hold for extended periods.
- An officer may have failed to follow police protocol when carrying out an arrest.
Excessive force is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids unlawful searches and seizures by law enforcement. Any person that is the victim of excessive force may pursue a constitutional claim through 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the statute, any person who acting under the color of any law, ordinance or regulation deprives a person of their rights afforded under the Constitution, shall be liable to the injured party in an action at law. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any suspected instance of excessive force by a police officer.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Body camera footage from all officers involved should be observed.
- Surveillance footage of the incident should be sought.
- Medical records related to the assault should be preserved.
- An experienced civil rights attorney should be contacted.
Police officers have policies and procedures that they are supposed to follow. In general, officers should always use the least amount of force necessary, but this does not always happen. When police departments investigate their own officers, it is not surprising that they will nearly always determine that their officers didn’t do anything wrong. However, this does not have to be the end of the story. Any person that is injured due to the excessive force of a police officer may be able to seek some measure of justice through a civil claim.
Getting Legal Help After Excessive Force By Barstow Police Officers
We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our best wishes to Gary Christian as he continues to recover. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There needs to be some accountability for what happened. Barstow police officers should not be beating suspects who are already on the ground.
Have you or someone that you care about been injured by a Barstow police officer? There are a number of laws designed to help you. Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to assist you in any way that we can. We specialize in helping people who are the victims of police abuse or misconduct. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we may be able to help. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.