In a caught on camera confrontation that led to the arrest of a 22-year-old outside a Murrieta CVS, a witness says the video she shot shows what she considers excessive force used by the officers as they tried to detain the man.
Though officers said amid the multiple struggles with the man, one officer suffered a broken hand, Murrieta police said in a news release.
The woman, who wished to not be identified, can be heard in the video saying, "Oh my God," as officers and the man struggled.
On Tuesday at 8:45 p.m., Murrieta police patrolling near the 2500 block of Hancock Ave. was called over to the CVS by a witness who thought the 22-year-old man was on drugs.
Police released new surveillance video on Wednesday "in an effort to inform the public of the events of what led up to the altercation," Murrieta police said on their Facebook page, along with the two videos taken from inside the CVS.
The footage shows an officer approaching Rojo, who was allegedly tearing into medical supplies and possibly ingesting them, police said.
The man, later identified by authorities as Alejandro Rojo, was inside of the store.
As the officer approached the man, the video shows the two fighting near the doors of the CVS, and Rojo was accused of grabbing for the officer's gun.
Rojo and the officer broke apart, and Rojo tried running from the store, police said.
As the officer chased Rojo from the store, another fight broke out during which officers said Rojo again tried to grab for the officer's gun.
More officers arrived and used "multiple force techniques" to stop the man, police said.
The witness says she saw two officers kicking Rojo while taking him into custody.
"He got Tasered as well," the woman said. "And then there was another officer kicking him in the groin area as well."
The video shows officers using batons to strike Rojo.
The witness also said that while the man was struggling with officers, she believes there was a better way to handle him.
"It was excessive force," she said. "And it was not necessary. It was uncalled for."
The officer who suffered a broken hand and Rojo were both taken to a hospital.
Rojo was released from jail on Wednesday night and did not provide a comment on camera to NBC4.
"He's not a bad kid," said his father, Arturo Rojo. "I did not raise my kid to be like that. It hurts me. What did they want to do? What did they want to try to do?"
Rojo was booked on suspicion of trying to disarm a police officer, resisting a police officer causing injury, obstructing a police officer causing injury, battery on a police officer with injury, and retail property trespassing. Murrieta police said he was also to be booked on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs pending lab results.
Murrieta Police Department does not deploy body cameras.
None of the officers involved in the confrontation have not been placed on administrative leave, Murrieta police said.