Fresno has had a recent uproar regarding the trial of Fresno Police Department Sergeant Michael Manfredi. Manfredi mistakenly “launch kicked” a beer bottle from a handcuffed suspect. The prosecutors state that the bottle was found 100 feet from the suspect. The prosecution believed that another defendant, former police officer Sean Plymale, planted the evidence during the arrest of the suspect. Manfredi poked a hole in the prosecutions theory because he testified that he drop kicked the bottle. The suspect was punched, kicked, bitten by a police dog, shot with a stun gun, and blasted several times with a bean-bag shotgun in October 2005. All Officers involved in this case were fired after the arrest. Two officers completely left the police force altogether.
Manfredi and Plymale along with two other former police officers are all charged with falsifying an official report to obstruct justice. If convicted each will face up to 20 years in prison. Another Officer who witnessed the event testified in the trial stating how appalled he was at the force being used against a defenseless man who posed no threat. The Defense lawyers state that the suspect posed a dangerous threat to the Officers. The Officers stated that they believed the suspect may have been on drugs. The officers believed this to be true because Officer Plymale’s canine dog had locked onto the suspects ankle and he was still able to drag the 70 pound dog over a 6-foot fence topped with barbed wire. If all these facts are true, was is acceptable for the Fresno Officer’s to use excessive force?
Cases of police brutality are prevalent in the news. Police are constantly scrutinized on their actions regarding arresting suspects. The infamous Rodney King case may be forgotten by most, but police officers are still struggling with the issue of police brutality. Rodney King was an African-American who is nationally known for being beaten with excessive force by Log Angeles Police Officers for being “black”. There was videotaped footage that shows five Los Angeles officer surrounding Rodney King and using excessive force against him. Although this incident took place over 20 years ago this issue is still an area of concern. This issue is such a hot topic for many because police officers are supposed to protect the public and not use their power inappropriately. Hopefully more cases like the Fresno case will serve as an example to other police officers and citizens that police brutality is not an issue of the past, but is still occurring in today’s society.