The Fullerton Police Department acknowledged cell phone video shows that police arrested the wrong man for allegedly attacking an officer last year, according to reports.
The news comes as the department is already under fire after Kelly Thomas, a homeless man with schizophrenia, died after an altercation with officers July 5.
Kelly Thomas Case Timeline
An internal investigation has been launched to determine how the mistake happened after Fullerton's acting chief, Kevin Hamilton, viewed cellphone video of the incident, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"Based upon reviews of the video, it is Hamilton’s preliminary determination that we arrested the wrong guy that night," Sgt. Andrew Goodrich told the Times. "It was very chaotic scene that night."
Veth Mam, 35, had an altercation with Fullerton police officers on October 2010. Mam was taping the arrest of a friend, Sokha Leng, who he believed was being mistreated.
During the altercation, police tried to take Mam's cell phone camera away, according to Mam's attorney, David Borsari.
An officer is seen knocking the cellphone camera out of Mam's hand and another man picked up the camera an kept recording, according to the Times.
Police reports alleged Mam then jumped on another officers back and choked him, according to the Times.
But Borsari said Officers fabricated claims that Mam tried to choke the officer. On July 7, an Orange County jury found Mam not guilty of assault, battery and resisting arrest.
Goodrich said an internal affairs probe will ultimately determine what happened but officers did not lie about the events. A man did jump on the officer’s back but the officers mistakenly believed it was Mam, Goodrich said in the Times.