VALLEJO, Calif. - Vallejo police are defending the actions of officers who were caught on cell phone video striking a man on the sidewalk in front of a pizza shop last week because they say he wouldn't take his left hand out from underneath his body.
In a statement to KTVU on Monday, Capt. Lee Horton said the officers’ use of force “appears appropriate for these circumstances.”
Horton said the man, identified as Angel Bagos, 22, was taken to a local hospital for his injuries. KTVU reached out to Bagos' relatives on Monday, who declined comment.
Bagos' name was not in the Solano County jail inmate locator on Monday. And as of Monday, Bagos had not been charged with any crime, though police said they are investigating the case.
In an email, Horton said that before the video was shot, a 14-year-old girl called 911 at 9 p.m. to report that “she was stuck in a man’s car and that he would not take her home.”
The girl in the car was able to provide information on where the car was parked, and Horton said officers found the vehicle near 141 Plaza Drive.
“As officers approached the vehicle, the suspect ran away from the scene and officers gave chase,” Horton said.
A video shot by Dietrich Krous shows one officer beating a young man on the ground in front of Mod Pizza at least 11 times on Friday night. Krous does not know anyone involved in the video, but he just happened to be there.
Two other officers are seen helping their colleague keep the young man down on the sidewalk as they struggle with him to get him in handcuffs. The young man is heard shouting, “Ow! Ow!”
Krous, however, said he watched as police "tackled" the man, and saw his face bang into the glass door and start to bleed.
But as police tell it, Horton said the suspect then ran to the front of Mod Pizza, where “he stumbled on the sidewalk as the officer started taking him to the ground to effect an arrest. As the suspect went to the ground, he hit his face on the front of the business. Other officers arrived to assist taking the suspect into custody.”
Horton added the officers attempted to gain control of the suspect’s left arm, but the man would “not remove his left hand from under his body.” That is when the officer “administered multiple strikes” to the man’s back and arm using his flashlight as an “impact weapon.”
Three officers were involved: One "gained control" of his right arm and wrist, another officer controlled his legs and a third officer "attempted to gain control of the suspect's left arm but the suspect would not remove his left hand from under his body," Horton said.
Police returned the girl to her family.