Sacramento Police released body camera footage Tuesday evening of an incident this week where an officer used a Taser to subdue a man accused of running, scuffling and biting the officer after a foot pursuit into an Upper Land Park apartment complex.
Police say the suspect was armed but the body camera of the arresting officer, who was alone for most of the Sunday morning incident, apparently fell off his uniform and did not capture images of the incident’s final moments.
The incident began just after 2 a.m. Jan. 6 when the suspect, identified by police as Artavious Coleman, 33, did not pull over when the officer attempted to make a traffic stop for expired registration on Coleman’s car, police said in a news release.
A slow-speed vehicle pursuit through residential streets ensued, in-car camera footage shows. Coleman later parked his car in front of an apartment complex on Seavey Circle, and ran into a park between buildings.
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Video shows the officer chasing Coleman but losing sight of him in the dark. The video also shows the officer drawing his weapon as he continued to look for Coleman using a flashlight.
The officer finds Coleman hiding along the side of a building. The officer points his firearm at him, but Coleman flees again and the officer runs after him. During this chase his body camera falls off his uniform and lands on the ground with the lens facing the sky.
A click can be heard before shortly before Coleman is heard saying “I’m going to shoot your a--,” which police say is the sound of gun that Coleman tried to fire at the officer.
The officer is then heard giving Coleman commands to “get on the ground” at least three times before deploying his Taser. He says “gun, gun” after Coleman is stunned.
Coleman was allegedly armed with a Lorcin Model L380 handgun, which was recovered at the scene, police said in the release. Police said the gun was loaded but that a bullet wasn’t in the chamber at the time he pulled the trigger.
After using his Taser, the officer can be heard in the audio commanding Coleman to drop his weapons and scuffling with the man before making the arrest without further use-of-force.
It was during this fight, police said, that Coleman allegedly bit the officer, who was later treated at a local hospital for minor injuries to his lip, wrist and leg, said Sgt. Vance Chandler, spokesman for the department.
Coleman was arrested on suspicion of felony charges of attempted murder of a peace officer, according to Sacramento County inmate information. Coleman has a warrant in Texas for his arrest for failing to register as a sex offender, according to court documents. A records search of court filings shows Coleman pleaded guilty to not registering as a sex offender in Texas in a federal court in 2014. He was sentenced to 33 months and was released on a supervised release program, documents show.
California federal court documents show that in 2017, Coleman was charged with violation of supervised release. In April 2017, a federal judge ordered that Coleman be transported back to Texas for further proceedings. He was sentenced in June 2017 in federal court in Texas to seven months in prison.
Police are continuing to investigate whether the officer was acting within the foot pursuit policy.
“That’s all part of our investigation and we will look at the action of the officer,” Chandler said. “The officer did not know the suspect was armed when he chased the suspect and the officer learned he was armed when he felt the firearm in the suspects hand.”
In July, police instituted a new policy saying when officers should initiate a foot pursuit in response to the March 18 shooting death of Stephon Clark, in which officers chased Clark into his grandmother’s backyard and apparently mistook his cell phone for a gun and fired at him.
The issue faced its first test in Curtis Park in the pursuit of Darrell Richards, 19, when police did not initiate a foot pursuit after Richards fled from police and hid in residential backyards. Police instead carried out an hours-long search before SWAT officers found him hiding under a outdoor staircase armed with they later learned to be a pellet gun, which he allegedly pointed at officers.
Similar to the incident with Coleman, the use of force in the Richards incident was not filmed because one SWAT officer’s body camera had accidentally been turned off when the officer was searching a house, the department said. Views of Richards were obscured by in other officer’s body camera footage.
Coleman is being held in the Sacramento County Main Jail on an extradition hold to Dallas. Coleman declined an interview Tuesday with The Sacramento Bee.