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California Teen Sues Police Department After Being Beaten At Family Birthday Party

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By Paula Rogo · August 24, 2019

A California teen that was brutally beaten by a police officer during a relative’s birthday party is now suing the police department for excessive force.

London Wallace, 17, had been a guest at a relative’s birthday party earlier this year when the police in Fresno, CA showed up to do a probation search, the lawsuit explains. Body cam footage showed one of the officers, Christopher Martinez, punching an unarmed Wallace multiple times, leaving him bleeding and crying.

“It’s a very disappointing situation. You can see London Wallace crying. You can see him bleeding,” London’s lawyer, Nolan Kane, told ABC affiliate KFSN. “He’s a high school kid. He likes playing basketball. He’s a nice, calm, timid person. … And you can kind of see that in the video. He’s not used to police contact.”

London was initially arrested and charged with resisting arrest before those charges were dropped. Officer Martinez claimed in a police report that he hit London because the teen was going to push him and another officer over a railing, ABC News reports.

However, bodycam footage of the January incident, which was released this week, opposes about Martinez’s account. He has been placed on modified duty.

“The video that I have reviewed certainly raises concerns and raises questions for me as a police chief,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters, ABC News reports. “Those questions will be answered once all the video is reviewed, the interviews are conducted, the evidence is looked at and the investigation is complete.”

London’s lawsuit names the city of Fresno, the Fresno police department and Officer Martinez.

“At no point did the Plaintiff pose a threat to Officer Christopher Martinez or any other Fresno Police Department Officer. At no point did Plaintiff disobey any orders from the Fresno Police Department.”