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Repeated Use Of Force Questioned In California

Repeated Use Of Force Questioned In California

San Jose Mercury News via YellowBrix

December 28, 2009

In July 2007, San Jose police officer John Marfia knocked Camille Monet Fisher to the floor of a downtown parking garage, smashing her face into the asphalt. Two weeks later, she would learn a fetus she was carrying was dead.

In October 2007, Marfia struck Carlos Duran with both hands in the chest, knocked him down, and then pinned his head to the pavement.

In November 2007, Marfia knocked Hai Tran to the ground, and then punched a companion who he said tried to intercede.

Marfia said all three incidents occurred after drunk patrons in the downtown nightclub district tried to fight him; all three were booked on charges of resisting arrest.

In the months following, two things happened: three suspects won their criminal cases. And the San Jose Police Department promoted Marfia to the rank of sergeant.

“I feel that it’s unfair that the department still allows a person like that to be on the force,” Fisher said last week. “It’s upsetting to me that he still has his job and is still on the streets where he can continue doing awful things to people.”

A Mercury News investigation identified Marfia among more than a dozen officers who repeatedly used force in recent cases where resisting arrest was the primary charge. A review of one year of resisting-arrest cases turned up 10 officers, including Marfia, using force in four or more incidents. Another was Steven Payne Jr., the officer seen on a controversial video Advertisement shocking a San Jose State University student with his Taser gun. A third was Jeffrey Guy, one of the officers who used force on mechanic Scott Wright in an incident described last month in the newspaper.

An additional five officers had used force three times and had been accused at least once in court of using excessive force or falsely reporting the incidents.

The newspaper’s review turned up 321 instances of officers using force in resisting-arrest cases over a one-year period ending in October 2008; resisting arrest long has drawn concern among experts and police officials nationwide because it can be used as a cover for unwarranted force.

Although San Jose officers fill out reports each time they use force in the line of duty, department officials said they had never kept systematic track of which officers are involved in repeated uses of force. Nor had the department monitored which officers repeatedly take people into custody when the main crime is resisting arrest. Such tracking is commonplace in other cities, as a way to identify officers who may need more training, supervision or discipline.

  • Aaa_max50


    over 4 years ago


    TheSarge said it all,

  • Car6_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Problem would be avoided if the persons would just stop resisting. Each case would be the factor and from the sounds of it, each sounds like it needed it. Just sounds like another case of an officer doing their job.

  • Me_max50


    over 4 years ago


    The media never gets anything right, having worked in bars and nightclubs as security for a long time, I know how "drunks" can be.They are always right, and are never "to drunk" to argue. Once we had to "walk" a guy out of the nightclub I was was working in, when we got him outside, he decided he really wasn't ready to leave and tried to fight his way back in. His problem was, that he was such a pain inside, we already had PD waiting outside. An officer tapped him on the shoulder, and this idiot spun around and slugged the officer. 4 security and 3 officers later, we got him cuffed and in the cruiser. 4 days later he showed up at the station, trying to file assault charges against the security officers, because he didn't even realize that he hit a cop, or that 3 officers, along with the security had to restrain him. After that was explained to him, he decided that charges should be filed against the officers too. How can you not realize you hit a cop, why do you think you had to "bail" out of CJ, and what that Felony charge was for?

  • Lady_jessie_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I will hecka-yeah jump on this one.

    Drunk patrons. Check.

    Public place: Check.

    Resisting: Check.

    Knocked to the ground? (uh, public intox can't stay on their feet...): Check.

    Cop doing his job: CHECK!

    I can't help it if gravity works every single time. If you have had anything to do with working nights, clubs, any downtown 'entertainment' environment or special tactical/gang unit, you're gonna be consistently dealing with people John Q. doesn't even know exist.

    I love the media. I love the media because they are sooooo damn predictable. How can I get mad at the media when they ALWAYS get it wrong? Heck, I've been in the paper, on TV (local, national and international) and I have said, "Hey, I was there. That's not what happened."

    Use of force? You bet. Newer cops getting more inhibited in using force because of litigation lottery? Yes, to some degree.

    Know your craft. Train well. Embed your department policies in your brain.

    p.s. "PD" stands for Police Department, not Public Dancing. For crying out loud, it's police work, not meet and greet drunks.

    Ok, I'm done.

    You'll know what to do.

  • Th_detective_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Need to look at each incident as a separate entity. Was the use of force necessary? Was it justified under the circumstances? If so, then it does not matter how many times the officer used force to subdue perpetrators as long as he was legally justified in doing so. This is just one more in a long string of liberal media attacks upon the Law Enforcement Community. These twits have no idea of the real work that officers perform on the streets every day, and they are far too quick to condemn the police while constantly offering excuses for the criminal behavior of the suspects in such incidents.

  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I spent time in San Jose, Lots of Gang Bangers who don't play nice with others. No way 88. If the officers carried blankets the media would claim a cover up was in progress.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I am too tired of hearing this. I hear the same excuses everyday from citizens. Anyone old enough to remember what a broken record is? I guess we live in a world where gang bangers can use as much force as they want. But, when COPS, who are just trying to do what they're supposed to do, we hear this crap!

  • Badge__hat_max50


    over 4 years ago


    It's all too easy for somebody to allege "Excessive Force" and for reporters to jump on the band wagon and write front page stories based on one side of the story. Yet when those accusations cannot be sustained by the facts, how many times do you see a front page story denouncing the accuser and retracting the story? Never.....that's how often.

    Sometimes officer have to use force in the performance of their duties. That's just part of the job. When a person resists arrests or doesn't comply with lawful orders, then they just might get hurt. That's the way it works. It's their decision to resist or not comply; therefore they're also responsible for what happens next. But you'll never see that viewpoint printed in the paper. It's always the officers who are on trial in the liberal media.

  • White_shirt_max50


    over 4 years ago


    When I started in law enforcement in the early 70's if an officer had to many resist they would send you to the head doctor for evaluation. I do not have an opinion on this officer. Since he was promoted he must be doing something right.

  • Joker-as-police-man_max50


    over 4 years ago


    The liberal media attacks the Police, once again....New Flash, people don't like police and resist our attempts to do our jobs. How about writing an article on how many Officers lost their lives this year? Or an article of cops doing a good job, which by the way is the vast majority of us! Guess that doesn't sell the SJM fish wrap.....

  • 1979_max50


    over 4 years ago


    When I was working I was accused of excessive force a number of times. The reason? I worked the worst areas and those that accused me attacked me and/or resisted because they were a lot bigger than I was back then. Being 6' and about 140lbs is not an imposing figure and these big bad-a$$ed boys were not about to let me take them quietly, they lost. When you work high crime and notably rough areas you end up fighting. It's called doing your job. I do not condone any excessive force nor should any LEO, but let's not look to destroy Officers without ALL the facts.

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Maybe the reporter from the Mercury News should do a full investigation. Sounds like the reporter took a lot of short cuts and did not do a detailed investigation.

  • Big_bad_pig_max50


    over 4 years ago


    That was funny 38.

  • Night_of_blue_lights_1_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Well... how bout Mr. Reporter put on the blue's and a shield and try it out on the streets of CA for a month and see what he thinks is and isn't "unwarranted force" Things appear much different when your in out shoes and not an outsider looking in on something you don't understand... but just want to attack...

  • 119_1923_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Wow, in depth reporting at it's best. Apparently the reporter couldn't find facts supporting "unwarranted force". Just some officers that used force more than others.

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