Thursday, March 12, 2015

Video Surfaces of Santa Cruz Police Officers Hitting and Tasing Man

A video has surfaced of Santa Cruz Police hitting and tasing Oliver Howard in front of the court house on October 13, 2014, in what multiple witnesses called excessive force at the time. The woman who recorded the video can be heard saying, "I hate cops" and "this is so fucked up" as the events unfolded. After the violent takedown by officers, Howard was taken directly to the hospital. He was never booked into jail and apparently was never charged with any crime. Since that time, one of the witnesses filed a formal complaint with the Santa Cruz Police Department, which triggered an external review.

Those on the scene that day say Santa Cruz Police hit Oliver Howard with a baton, tased his bare body, piled on top of him, wrenched and twisted his limbs, and grinded his face and body into the ground.

"I did not feel the man he was pursuing was dangerous or a threat to the officer or me," witness Debra Ellis stated in October. "The man being pursued appeared scared and confused," she said.

Two of the witnesses that day told Ellis their vehicle had been pulled over on Water Street by the first officer on the scene that afternoon (later identified as Ryan Kiar of the SCPD). When the officer was talking to them from outside of their car, Oliver Howard pulled up behind them in his vehicle. She said Howard exited his car and approached the officer, asking him about dead bodies and dead body parts in Santa Cruz and why weren't police doing something about it. She said Howard then walked away and was pursued by the police officer.

To read more about the incident, see: Witnesses Report Excessive Use of Force by SCPD during Arrest near Court House

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