North Park man speaks out about videotaped arrest - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

North Park man in videotaped arrest calls use of force ‘absolutely excessive’

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SAN DIEGO -- (CBS 8) A North Park man pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and being drunk in public after a videotape of his arrest was aired by local media outlets.

In court via video arraignment, Shawn McPherren appeared with a black eye and facial injuries.

The cell phone video shows McPherren on the ground; straddled by three San Diego Police officers Sunday night in front of the Alibi bar in Hillcrest.

Police said McPherren was resisting arrest when on the videotape one officer is seen repeatedly punching him, while at the same time ordering McPherren to "give us your other hand." Another officer then shocks McPherran with a taser gun before the 38-year-old is finally handcuffed.

In a jailhouse interview Wednesday night, McPherren admitted his memory of the events that evening is "clouded."

"I remember being inside the bar; being asked to leave and I did so," said McPherren. "And, I was out in front (of the bar) collecting my thoughts, figuring out basically which direction was home because it was walking distance. That's when I believe the police rolled up. Anything post-taser I don't remember."

Police say McPherren was transported to Mercy Hospital where his blood alcohol tested at .34, more than four times the legal limit of .08 for driving under the influence.

"I wasn't violent; drunk yes, but violent no; and deserving of three (officers) jumping me and just wailing the tar out of me, no," McPherren said. "It's just excessive; absolutely excessive. As far as their aggression level, that was just uncalled for."

Witnesses told police McPherren was drunk and threatening to hit employees inside the bar before he was kicked out, although no one was physically assaulted.

After leaving the bar, McPherren "fell on his face" and his cheek was swelling before officers arrived on scene at 11:28 p.m., according to a SDPD dispatch log released to News 8.

"I have a black eye because I was beaten post-tasing by the police department of San Diego right out in front of the Alibi bar," McPherren said. "My rib cage is exceptionally tender, which you would expect from being tased. My eye has gotten to the point where it is no longer swollen shut but it's still exceptionally black and blue," he said.

San Diego police announced Monday the incident was under investigation to determine if the use of force was appropriate.

According to department policy, officers may employ so-called "distraction blows" to subdue particularly resistant suspects, SDPD Executive Assistant Chief David Ramirez said. The internal investigation will likely take several weeks to complete, Ramirez said.

Court records show McPherren has a criminal history that includes three misdemeanor DUI convictions from 1997, 1998 and 2005; as well as a conviction for vehicle theft in 2004 and a felony attempted robbery conviction from 1994.

"There's been no violence in anything that I've ever done," McPherren said. "They mentioned an attempted robbery when I was 21 and that was 17 years ago. And basically, it was a beer run that went terribly awry on New Year's Eve."

"I'm historically very respectful of law enforcement because I know they have a tough job," he continued. "When they have chips on their shoulders and they're copping an attitude at you, nine out of ten times I suck it up, but apparently this was the one time out of ten that I just didn't feel like sucking it up."

McPherren bailed out of jail hours after his interview with News 8.  He is due back in court on May 12.

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