The Redding Police Department is responding after the police chief was made aware of a video circulating on social media showing the arrest of a combative subject by multiple Redding Police Department officers.
"Some of the force used is disturbing and may violate the standards of training and conduct required by the members of the Redding Police Department," Redding Police Chief Bill Schueller said.
Based on a preliminary review, the incident in the video occurred on Jan. 23, the RPD said. A man, later identified as Kevin Donald Hursey, 39, was reported to be attempting to get into parked vehicles in the parking lot of a hospice care facility in the 1200 block of Willis Avenue, police said.
According to the reporting party, Hursey attempted to pull something out of his pocket when he was confronted by staff. Initially two officers were dispatched to the call and contacted the suspect in the parking lot. He was uncooperative with officers, RPD said, and appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance. The RPD said the suspect "continued to place his hands in his waistband area as though he was trying to retrieve a weapon." Officers attempted to deescalate with the suspect for several minutes without success. Additional officers were requested.
The police chief said, due to Hursey’s erratic behavior and refusal to comply with the officers’ orders, officers deployed a less lethal bean bag round and police K-9. Ultimately the man was taken into custody after a significant struggle, officials said.
"The end of the video shows one Redding Police Officer forcefully stepping on the head of the suspect," Chief Schueller said. "My staff and I took the following immediate steps: The officer in question was placed on paid administrative leave as required under California law and the Redding Police Officers Association Memorandum of Understanding. The officer’s peace officer powers were suspended. My Professional Standards Unit immediately began an investigation," he added.
The chief requested that the Anderson Police Department conduct a separate, independent criminal investigation into the officer’s actions. The Shasta County District Attorney was also notified, he said.
Hursey sustained minor to moderate injuries during his arrest, received medical treatment at Mercy Medical Center, and once cleared, was booked at the Shasta County Jail on charges of resisting and obstructing an officer, violence against a peace officer, prowling, vehicle tampering, interfering with a police canine, being intoxicated in a public place, and violating the terms of his Post Release Community Supervision, according to police.
"Our officers receive advanced training in de-escalation, crisis intervention, less lethal tactics, defensive tactics and force options," the chief said. "I am proud of the work they do on a day to day basis and the risks they take every day to protect and serve our community. Any allegation of excessive force by any member of the Redding Police Department will be investigated fully," he added.
Sustained allegations can result in discipline up to, and including termination. Officers are also subject to criminal penalties. The chief said a trial run of bodyworn cameras begins Jan. 31.
"We appreciate the community’s patience as we conduct a thorough investigation into this incident," Schueller said.
KRCR has done previous reporting on the suspect. In 2018 the Anderson man was arrested after police said he assaulted officers when they tried to prevent him from jumping off the South Bonnyview Road Bridge into the Sacramento River.