STOCKTON — The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office released disturbing surveillance video Tuesday of a county correctional officer striking a handcuffed arrestee who is wearing a spit hood.
In August 2017, the Manteca Police Department responded to a report of a man down and intoxicated in front of a business.
The man, who has not been identified, woke up and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and was set to be released from the San Joaquin County Jail after sobering up.
During the arrest, the man was said by authorities to be physically and verbally combative and was spitting.
Because of the behavior, police placed a spit hood on the man. While placed in the pre-booking area of the jail, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office correctional Officer Matthew Mettler is seen on video approaching the man, who at the time was sitting, with both legs and arms cuffed.
Mettler then is seen on the video striking the man across the head once. The man falls over and Mettler pulls him back up and then leaves the room.
The incident was witnessed by two Manteca police officers, who the D.A.’s Office said immediately reported the incident to superiors. The Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday evening in a statement that an internal affairs and criminal investigation was made. The video was handed over to the D.A’.s Office for prosecution.
A complaint was filed on Sept. 29.
“This behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement. “Individuals who abuse their power and position will be tried and punished to the full extent of the law.”
Mettler was charged with one misdemeanor count of assault by a public officer and was arraigned in October 2017. After the incident, Mettler was immediately placed on administrative leave, where he remains.
The Sheriff’s Office praised the Manteca officers who immediately reported the incident, and Sheriff Steve Moore said he does not condone Mettler’s actions.
“It is inconsistent with the professionalism of San Joaquin County correctional officers, and of this department,” Moore said. “The action taken by the D.A.’s Office is appropriate and we support their position.”
Mettler is scheduled to appear in court in Stockton on March 26 at 1:30 p.m. for a motion hearing. No trial date has been set.
The D.A.’s Office is asking anyone who has recently witnessed or experienced an act of unlawful assault committed by a public officer to contact its Investigative Unit at (209) 468-3620.
Contact reporter Nicholas Filipas at (209) 546-8257 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on recordnet.com/filipasblog or on Twitter @nicholasfilipas.