– Video of Cotati police using stun gun on resident goes viral (The Press Democrat, May 15, 2013):
A video of Cotati police officers entering a home and using a stun gun on a resident went viral this week, prompting questions about the officers’ tactics.
The video, which was taken May 10, shows officers responding to a report of a domestic disturbance at a home on Marsh Way, Chief Michael Parish said.
Officers investigating the 3:48 p.m. call from a concerned citizen heard a heated argument between a man and woman in the backyard of the home off East Cotati Avenue, Parish said.
When officers arrived, the people in the yard went into the house and refused to let them inside, police said.
On the video, a man holding the camera told police he was recording them.
While the officers are still outside, the man told the officers there was one child inside and another playing in the yard. In response to an inaudible comment from the officers he said: “You’re coming inside without a warrant, probable cause, you’re going to kick my door down?”
“Why are you guys not coming out?” an officer said.
“Because we don’t live in a police state sir,” the man said.
“Can you do us a favor, all get down on the ground and put your hands behind your back?” an officer said.
“We can’t record if our hands are behind our back,” the man said. “We need documentation of this violation of our civil rights.”
The officers appear to kick a door down and enter the home with weapons drawn. A woman in the home is shown standing with her hands up, although she had not complied with the officers’ commands to get onto the ground.
The officer deployed a stun gun charge at a person, and the woman screams.
The video ends.
Parish said that a man and the woman were cited for resisting arrest and released. Another man, James Wood, 33, of Cotati, was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of resisting arrest, Parish said. He bailed out and was released, jail staff said.
Parish would not comment on whether the tactics depicted in the video appear to be lawful and compliant with police department policy.
“We will have an administrative review to ensure that policy was followed,” Parish said. “I’m not going to comment before that is done.”
Cotati Mayor Mark Landman said he asked the chief to issue a statement about the video but would not comment on the incident while it is under investigation.
The video spread rapidly on the Internet, where the original YouTube video had been viewed more than 108,000 times by Wednesday afternoon and reposted dozens of times on YouTube and other social networking sites.