A Red Bank man who claims that a police officer severely beat him during a traffic stop six months ago is crying foul after Red Bank police investigated and decided the officer did no wrong.
A video from the April 13 traffic stop shows Red Bank police officer Mark Kaylor punching 24-year-old Candido Medina-Resendiz in the arm and face while other officers held him down, stun-gunned him and tried to handcuff him.
The encounter left Medina-Resendiz with a swollen-shut eye, a fractured eye socket and cuts and bruises on his face. Medina-Resendiz filed a complaint of excessive force against the Red Bank Police Department on July 31, and the internal affairs investigator concluded on Aug. 25 that Kaylor did not use excessive force.
But attorneys Kyle Mothershead and Andrew Free say Kaylor clearly crossed the line when he punched Medina-Resendiz in the head seven times while Medina-Resendiz's face was pressed against the pavement.
"At that point, they had his hands behind his back and that was completely unnecessary," Mothershead said. "He was not a threat to the officer's safety, not a threat to police and not a danger to himself. So at that point it is excessive force."
Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol said he can't discuss the incident.
Kaylor initially pulled over the car Medina-Resendiz was riding in as a passenger just after 3 a.m. on April 13 and discovered that the driver was intoxicated. As Kaylor arrested the driver, Medina-Resendiz -- who was also intoxicated -- got out of the car.
Another officer tried to put Medina-Resendiz in handcuffs, and that's when the altercation started, according to video and reports that Mothershead and Free provided the Times Free Press.
In the dash camera video, an officer throws Medina-Resendiz on the ground and multiple officers attempt to handcuff him, but Medina-Resendiz pulls his hands under his body. At that point, Kaylor joins the effort.
"I'm going to [expletive] kick your ass," Kaylor says as he walks up.
Kaylor then puts his hand on Medina-Resendiz's neck and appears to hold his head down.
"It's OK, amigo," Medina-Resendiz says as Kaylor takes hold of his head.
When Medina-Resendiz continues to struggle, officers tased him twice. Kaylor punches Medina-Resendiz three times in the left shoulder, then lays his upper body on top of Medina-Resendiz's shoulders and punches him seven times in the head. A second officer appears to secure the handcuffs as the blows fall.
Medina-Resendiz shouts and screams throughout the incident. Once he is handcuffed, officers pick him up by his arms and his legs and carry him to a police car. Then officers shot him with a Taser again and placed leg restraints on him, according to the internal affairs investigation.
Medina-Resendiz was charged with simple assault, resisting arrest and driving under the influence by consent. Because Medina-Resendiz owned the vehicle, he was charged with allowing an intoxicated person to drive his car even though he was not driving.
Medina-Resendiz is still in the Hamilton County Jail on a $3,000 bond. He is an undocumented immigrant and speaks only a little bit of very basic English, his attorney said.
The Red Bank police internal affairs investigation into the incident both exonerated Kaylor of the excessive force allegations and commended him for his actions that night.
"I believe the officer should be commended for demonstrating restraint in the amount of force that was used," Sgt. Dan Seymour wrote in the conclusion. "It was apparent that Medina actively resisted arrest by pulling away, holding his arms underneath his body, flailing, kicking, pushing at officers, attempting to stand, and refusing multiple verbal commands from officers."
The report also notes that Medina-Resendiz was arrested in 2013 for domestic assault and received a misdemeanor conviction.
His attorneys believe police handled the situation poorly and that the language barrier complicated the interaction. They say police could have used a dart Taser on Medina-Resendiz instead of a regular Taser -- the dart Taser causes uncontrollable muscle contractions and may have ended the situation sooner.
Regular Tasers are designed to inflict pain, Free said, rather than immobilize.
Ideally, Mothershead said, police officers could have explained to Medina-Resendiz what was happening before they tried to put handcuffs on him. Medina-Resendiz was not combative until the officers attempted to cuff him.
"If they'd have just approached it with some basic civility and given him the opportunity to understand what was happening and why, this could have played out completely differently," he said.
Medina-Resendiz's next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 2.
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