Fresno’s Office of Independent Review cleared the police department of 11 allegations of excessive force in the third quarter of 2017, while noting one officer was “out of policy” in one of the cases for failing to activate his body camera.
The review office, headed by former FBI Agent John A Gliatta, was established by the city to strengthen community trust in the department “by providing neutral, third-party review of police policies and procedures.”
In the case involving the body camera, Gliatta agreed with department’s findings that four officers did not use excessive force, but made recommendations so the department could “avoid future complaints and minimize department liability.” The recommendations were not spelled out in the third-quarter report.
In another case, the report determined two officers did not cause a cut to the bridge of the nose of a prisoner being taken to jail by slamming the brakes of a police vehicle. The complainant, who had been “cut off” from at least one bar because of intoxication, according to the report, also alleged an officer pushed his head into the side of patrol car. The review noted a body camera showed a pre-existing abrasion on the prisoner’s nose before he was placed in the vehicle. However, the report noted that the officers did not secure the prisoner with a seat belt. While doing so is not explicitly required in the department’s procedure manual, Gliatta recommended changes in the manual to make it so.
Gliatta’s report also exonerated a police officer who used a pursuit intervention technique, or PIT maneuver, to ram a fleeing suspect, who then slammed his vehicle into the side of a FAX bus. The suspect had been sought for felony warrants and was believed to be armed with a firearm. The complainant alleged the officer was not properly trained to use the method. However, an internal affairs investigation showed the officer had completed PIT training in the past year.The report urged that every police officer certify in writing that he or she has read and understand the department’s pursuit policy.