Videotaped arrest outside bar prompts internal SDPD probe - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Videotaped arrest outside bar prompts internal SDPD probe

Posted: Updated:
Shawn McPherren, 38 Shawn McPherren, 38

SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - An internal investigation was under way today into whether a patrolman used excessive force while arresting an allegedly drunk and combative man last weekend outside a North Park nightspot, a San Diego police official confirmed.

The lawman, whose name was withheld, was one of three officers who struggled to subdue 38-year-old Shawn Allen McPherren in front of the Alibi bar late Sunday night, SDPD Executive Assistant Chief David Ramirez said.

A witness videotaped the arrest with his cell phone and later contacted News 8, which aired the images.

The footage shows the uniformed personnel crouching around McPherren, who was prone on a sidewalk, grappling with him while one of the officers apparently punched him forcefully in the midsection or arms a half-dozen times, grunting loudly with each blow.

One of the officers then used an electric taser gun on the suspect, who was successfully taken into custody moments later, Ramirez said. Twenty seconds into the videotape, the noise from the taser gun can be heard in the background and continues for several seconds.

Police had been called to the tavern at the corner of 14th Street and University Avenue about 11:30 p.m. on a report that a heavily intoxicated patron was being belligerent and threatening people inside the business.

The suspect's blood-alcohol level following his arrest was 0.34 percent, more than four times the legal limit for driving, according to Ramirez.

McPherren, a North Park resident, was booked into county jail on suspicion of resisting arrest and being drunk in public.  He was set to be arraigned on the misdemeanor charges Wednesday morning.

The assistant chief confirmed that police officials opened an in-house investigation after seeing the video of the arrest on Monday. When asked by a reporter outside downtown SDPD headquarters if the footage might show excessive police force, Ramirez said he did not "want to jump to conclusions."

According to department policy, officers may employ so-called "distraction blows" to subdue particularly resistant suspects, Ramirez noted. The internal investigation will likely take several weeks to complete, the assistant chief said.

If the arrest proves to have violated police standards, the patrolman who threw the punches would be at least the seventh San Diego police officer to stand accused of misconduct or criminal behavior in recent months.

On Monday, an SDPD motorcycle patrolman pleaded not guilty to DUI and hit-and-run allegations in connection with an off-duty Feb. 22 traffic accident on Murray Ridge Road in Serra Mesa. Officer David Hall, 41, faces up to three years and eight months in prison if convicted of the charges.

Last week, a judge ordered San Diego police Sgt. Kenneth H. Davis, 47, to stand trial on one count of stalking a fellow officer he had dated and three counts of making harassing telephone calls to her. Davis, a 23-year department veteran, could serve up to three years in prison if found guilty of the charges, which came to light in February.

On April 11, an SDPD patrolman was involved in an off-duty dispute during which he allegedly assaulted a 17-year-old neighbor boy he caught smoking marijuana. The officer, a Mira Mesa resident whose name has not been released, has been transferred to desk duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation and a concurrent review by the District Attorney's Office, said SDPD Lt. Andra Brown, a department spokeswoman.

In March, 42-year-old Art Perea, a vice officer with the department, resigned amid accusations of raping a Point Loma Nazarene University student at an El Cajon home. He has not been charged in the case, which remains under investigation.

On March 11, San Diego police Officer Anthony Arevalos, 40, was arrested after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her following a traffic stop in the Gaslamp Quarter. Four other women subsequently came forward and made similar allegations against Arevalos, who has pleaded not guilty to 18 felony counts, including sexual battery, false imprisonment, assault under color of authority and receiving a bribe.

On March 24, San Diego police Officer Roel Tungcab was arrested by sheriff's deputies in the aftermath of a fight with his wife at their Imperial Beach home. Tungcab, 39, faces misdemeanor domestic-violence charges.

On March 29, an SDPD officer was videotaped wrestling with an allegedly drunk and combative soccer fan at Qualcomm Stadium. The 49-second tape, posted on YouTube the following day, shows the lawman on the floor of a concourse at the Friars Road sports arena, struggling to subdue 27-year-old David Rangel of San Diego.

The officer, whose name has not been released, at times used his arm to put Rangel in a choke hold from behind and finally shoved Rangel's head onto the concrete, causing a loud smacking sound when the side of the detainee's face and the palm of his hand hit the floor.

Rangel then stops struggling as the officer shouts, "Put you hands behind your (expletive) back!" Rangel was booked on suspicion of battery on a peace officer and public drunkenness.

Two days after the arrest, Brown said SDPD officials were reviewing the home video from the night of the Mexico-vs.-Venezuela soccer match in Mission Valley to determine if a formal internal inquiry might be warranted.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.