MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A video of the Meriden police officers arresting a suspect after a car crash has gone viral. Some said the officers went overboard with their use of force; however, the Meriden Police Department is defending the officers’ actions.
Surveillance video shows the moment of impact.
Anthony Ortiz told News 8 he’s happy to be alive after the crash nearly took off his ear. He now has 27 stitches.
“I kind of just knocked out cold. I woke up to the paramedics pulling me out of the car.”– Anthony Ortiz, crash survivor
Ortiz said he was driving into work Friday when he said a Nissan came out of nowhere.
Nearby officers witnessed the crash and ran after the driver, later identified as David O’Brian. They demanded O’Brian put his hands behind his back.
Cellphone video showed one officer on top of O’Brian while trying to put him into handcuffs. Another officer can be heard yelling, “Put your hands behind your back. Stop resisting,” before hitting him three times.
These were plain-clothed detectives who were working on something else when they say they saw a man driving erratically and tried to apprehend him.
Wednesday, some said police went overboard in the video, but Meriden police said it doesn’t rise to a level that would warrant an internal investigation.
Sargent Chris Fry of Meriden Police Department told News 8 that the video appears to show one thing, but “there’s a lot more going on.”
“Our officers don’t have the luxury of time,” Fry told News 8. “They’ve got to act right then and there with their own safety and that of the people around them.”
Police said O’Brian had a gun and drugs in the car and resisted arrest. They said the officers’ behavior falls within their policy.
Meanwhile, Ortiz was surprised to learn the incident went viral.
“You can’t really see the full video of if he was resisting arrest,” he said.
O’Brian is facing several charges, including interfering with police.
He was treated at the hospital and released on a promise to appear in court next week.