California

Excessive force? Teen shown being punched by officer now suing Fresno police

Body cam video shows Fresno teen being punched by police officer

A Fresno, California teenager is suing the police department for excessive force after he was punched in the face multiple times by an officer. Footage of the incident was captured by police body cameras.
Up Next
A Fresno, California teenager is suing the police department for excessive force after he was punched in the face multiple times by an officer. Footage of the incident was captured by police body cameras.

A Fresno police officer was captured on a body camera, punching a teenage male several times in the face. The teen is now accusing the department of excessive force.

The law firm of Baradat & Paboojian, Inc. filed the lawsuit with the Fresno County Superior Court on behalf of the teen, London Wallace, 17.

They are seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages and are suing Fresno police and Officer Christopher Martinez. The video allegedly shows Martinez punching Wallace several times in the head and face.

“My client is embarrassed,” said Wallace’s attorney Nolan Kane, pointing out the teen has no criminal record. “And I think he feels the same way when most other people watch that video: They don’t think this incident should be happening in their community.

“Mr. Wallace is hopeful the judicial system will find justice for him.”

The incident, first reported by ABC 30, occurred Jan. 23 on the second floor of the Fenix Apartments near downtown Fresno.

Kane said Wallace, 17, and several others were attending a birthday party at the complex when Fresno police conducted a probation search for domestic violence.

In the body cam footage, Wallace places his hands behind his head with his fingers locked as a pair of officers pat him down.

After Wallace is done being patted down, one of the officers says a few words to Wallace and points toward the ground where other people are sitting down.

Within five seconds, Martinez confronts Wallace and grabs the teen’s arm.

Wallace yelled back at Martinez.

Then a man who claimed to be Wallace’s brother, Patrick Beard, yells: “Hey, don’t touch my little brother.”

Almost simultaneously, Martinez unleashes a fury of punches at Wallace’s head.

“I noticed Wallace was not listening,” Martinez said, according to a Fresno police report. “I believed Wallace was going to attempt to flee. …

“I punched Wallace approximately three times in the face in order to get him off me and to back him up. …”

“By punching Wallace in the face,” Martinez added, “I received the desired effect, creating the distance between me and Wallace, which allowed me to get my back off of the second story balcony railing.”

Body cam footage goes on to show Wallace wrestled to the ground by officers and police struggling to get both of his hands behind his back and handcuff him.

Eventually the body cam footage shows Wallace in tears, with blood on the side of his right eye, along with a bloody nose and bloody mouth. Kane said Wallace suffered a broken nose.

“I ain’t do nothing to you,” Wallace appears to say to police. “I didn’t do (sic) to nobody.”

Wallace was arrested that day on accusations of resisting arrest and obstruction.

The charges were later dropped.

“What you see is an officer who is unprovoked but taking irresponsible actions against a minor who was of no threat to the officers or their investigation,” Kane said. “My firm has had several cases against the city and county where no criminal charges were ever brought against the officers for excessive force.

“We do recognize a pattern. Hopefully, a jury will, too.”

Check back for details as this story develops.

  Comments