Judge orders mental exam for man hit by Fresno cop

Criminal proceedings against a homeless man who was punched by a Fresno police officer during a videotaped arrest were suspended Monday in Fresno County Superior Court to determine whether he is competent to understand the legal proceedings.

Judge Houry Sanderson ordered two doctors to examine Glen Beaty while he is in custody at the downtown jail.

The doctors must write a report and give it to the judge by April 14, when Beaty is expected to return to court for a hearing to determine whether he is competent enough to assist his lawyers.

Police arrested Beaty, 52, on Feb. 9 on two warrants: a no-bail felony count of deterring an officer by threat or violence and a misdemeanor violation of a court order.

The videotaped arrest sparked national outrage and prompted local groups to again call for an independent police auditor. The video shows one officer repeatedly punching Beaty in the head while the other struggles to handcuff him. Police say the video also supports claims by the officers that Beaty assaulted them.

Beaty's lawyers, Peter Kapetan and Russell Cook, have said their client suffers from mental illness and did not provoke the attack against police.

Monday, Kapetan said he still has not received the police reports from the Feb. 9 incident. In addition, the court records from the 2004 felony case against Beaty, as well as the 2006 misdemeanor incident that led to the warrants, show that Beaty suffered from mental illness back then, Kapetan said.

So far, no criminal charges have been filed against Beaty in connection to his Feb. 9 arrest.

Last week, Beaty's lawyers filed a claim against the Fresno Police Department alleging excessive force and battery. The claim also states that the officers were not properly trained, and that they violated Beaty's civil rights and injured him by striking him repeatedly on the face.

The claim, if denied by the city, will allow a lawsuit to be filed against police on Beaty's behalf.