Mayor Swearengin Issues Statement on Police Use of Force
02/11/2009

Mayor Ashley Swearengin issued a statement today from Washington, DC expressing her deep concern over allegations that police officers used excessive force in the arrest of a man in north Fresno on Monday. Portions of the arrest were captured on video by an amateur photographer and turned over to a local television station.

The videotape shows an officer striking the man, identified as Glen Beaty, in the face several times while trying to restrain him on the ground.

"I am deeply concerned about what I see in the video,” Mayor Swearengin said. “I understand that officers need to use force, at times, to protect themselves or to make an arrest. But, the video itself is very disturbing. I have been in regular contact with Police Chief Jerry Dyer and I want to assure the residents of Fresno that this incident will be thoroughly investigated using all resources at our disposal. Maintaining the community's confidence in the integrity and professionalism of our Police Department is my highest priority."

Mayor Swearengin has been in Washington, DC since Sunday meeting with members of congress and representatives from the White House on the economic recovery package and other legislation. She spoke with Chief Dyer on Tuesday immediately after becoming aware of the incident. An internal affairs investigation is currently underway.

In comments yesterday, Chief Dyer said, “the video is disturbing and it will be important to gather all the facts in order to make a determination on the use of force in this case.” He has called on any witnesses to the incident to come forward to assist with the investigation.

The videotape does not show the entire physical altercation. The police report, filed by the officers, indicates they arrived on the scene at approximately 9:45am. The video appears to begin several minutes after officer arrived, according to the recorded time stamp visible on the footage.

“It’s critical to the success of the investigation that we have all relevant information about the incident,” Chief Dyer said in asking any additional witnesses to contact the Internal Affairs Unit at (559) 621-2730

CONTACT: Michael Lukens, Press Secretary (559) 621-7795

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