Newly released police body cam footage appears to depict California police officers using excessive force against an unarmed teenager who was not resisting or fighting back. Last week, two of the officers were fired from the department after police officials reviewed the body cam videos.
Around 8:30 p.m. on December 30, 2020, Devin Carter, a 17-year-old high school student, was reportedly driving to his father’s house when Stockton police officers began following his car for allegedly speeding. Officers accused Carter of leading them on a pursuit, but Carter claims that he was initially unaware that he had been followed by a patrol car in the dimly lit area.
In the newly released police body cam videos, Carter sat in his car with his empty hands in the air above the steering wheel when an officer ordered him to take off his seatbelt. Despite the fact that Carter was complying and not resisting, the officers pulled him out of the vehicle and tackled him to the ground before repeatedly kicking him in the head and back.
According to a federal lawsuit filed on Friday, Carter suffered a fractured nose from the unprovoked assault. The teenager also claimed that Stockton Police Officers Michael Stiles, Omar Villapudua, Vincent Magana, and Daniel Velarde threatened him with false charges, including homicide and throwing a gun out of the car window.
On March 30, Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones announced that officers Stiles and Villapudua had been terminated after a review of the body camera footage.
“The investigation determined two of the involved officers were well outside the scope of both our policy and training. Our department has policies that state we should make attempts to avoid striking an arrestee around the head and neck area when possible,” Chief Jones said in a statement.
“Given this set of circumstances, I cannot and will not condone any excessive force. Additionally, any use of profanity is considered unwarranted and not professional,” Jones added.
“No mother should see or hear her son beaten by the police and helplessly crying from the pain. This has been a mother’s worse nightmare,” stated the teen’s mother, Jessica Carter.
“The officers’ conduct was so atrocious that they should be criminally prosecuted,” said John Burris, the family’s attorney. “The most troubling aspect of this case is that these officers must have believed that they were somehow immune from department discipline and could get away with their conduct knowing that their body-worn cameras were on.
“These vicious cops acted like a pack of wolves, and Devin was their evening meal. I have not seen a police officer beating this outrageous since my former client Rodney King was beaten by LAPD officers back in March of 1991.”