Deputy To Be Fired After Police Beat, Tased Carjack Victim Before His Death
A Sonoma County deputy is to be fired over his involvement in the death of a carjack victim who was beaten and tased by police prior to his death last month, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Sheriff Mark Essick said he is seeking the termination of Deputy Charles Blount, who was seen beating and choking 52-year-old David Glen Ward on body cam footage released on Friday.
Ward later died at the hospital, the newspaper reported.
Police attempted to pull Ward over when they spotted his vehicle, which he had reported taken in a carjacking three days prior, assuming the perpetrator was behind the wheel.
Apparently Ward had retrieved his car but did not update police. When officers tried to stop him, Ward fled and a chase ensued, ending when police spun out his vehicle and rendered it disabled.
The body camera footage shows an officer, gun drawn, yelling at Ward to keep his hands up, the Chronicle reported.
“I can’t believe this, I’m the injured party in this,” Ward can be heard saying. He later asked, “Why you f— harassing me all the time?”
Police eventually attempted to pull Ward out through the car window, which he had rolled down after appearing to be unable to open the door.
“Blount shouted that Ward bit him, and about 15 seconds later punched the back of his head,” the Chronicle reported. “He pressed Ward’s head against the frame of the car door, and then smashed Ward’s face against it twice. Ward moaned before Blount knocked his face against the frame one more time as another deputy deployed a Taser.”
Less than ten seconds later, Blount placed Ward in a choke hold for more than 30 seconds, the footage shows. He was then dragged out the passenger side door by other officers, who put Ward on the ground face-down and handcuffed him.
Ward was lying on the ground unresponsive when one of the officers realized he was the owner of the vehicle.
“This is, this is the owner of the car,” the officer said. “This is David Ward. He’s the, he’s the victim.”
“Oh well,” Blount responded.
Ward stopped breathing at the scene and later died at the hospital. His cause of death has not yet been determined.
The victim reportedly “had serious health problems, and had difficulty walking, talking and breathing after being injured in a car crash two decades ago.”
Upon Essick’s announcement that Blount would be fired for “willful disregard for policy and carelessness or violation of safety rules,” the deputy’s attorney, Harry Stern, shifted to victim-blaming.
“Charlie Blount has served the people of Sonoma County for over 20 years and honorably served in the military for 20 years before that,” Stern said. “His actions during this arrest were entirely reasonable.”
He added that Ward “caused his own death by inexplicably taking a number of bizarre actions that confirmed in the deputies’ minds that he was an armed carjacker, rather than the victim of that crime.”