A man filed a claim against Santa Monica on Friday accusing police of using excessive force during a recent arrest that was recorded on video by a bystander who heard the scuffle and became concerned. Palmer was in a Santa Monica park, after hours, charging his electric vehicle when approached by police.
Palmer, 36, said when the officer asked for his ID he demanded to know why they were approaching him, since other people were also in the park. He said the officer then threw him to the ground where he hit his head on the cement.
“He swept my legs and held my arm and threw me to the ground,” he said. “I hit my head on the ground and blacked out.” Palmer said the police also used pepper spray on him and he suffered a concussion. He said he hasn’t been able to return to his job as a pharmacy tech at Walgreens. He said he was afraid to reach into his car to get his ID after seeing recent news reports about young men being killed by police.
Former Santa Monica city councilman Kelly Olsen stated that “I don’t think that the police should be enforcing this law, which I don’t think has legislative authority anyway from the City Council.”
Santa Monica Police Department spokesman, Sgt. Rudy Camarena, said that the officers involved acted withing department police and did nothing wrong.
According to a City Attorney’s Office statement released Monday, prosecutors opted not to pursue charges against Palmer “after a careful examination of the circumstances.”
“Factors which precluded the filing of criminal charges were Mr. Palmer’s belief that being present in the parking lot did not constitute a park closure violation, signage at the entrance to the parking lot of Virginia Avenue Park did not clearly indicate that the parking lot is included in the park closure ordinance and a question concerning when Mr. Palmer arrived in the parking lot and when officers made their initial contact with him,” according to the City Attorney’s Office.
Full Video, Courtesy of Christine Gonzales-Palmer