SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A San Jose police officer has been charged with assault and battery under color of authority for kicking and dragging a woman who was in handcuffs across a parking lot in July in an incident captured on video.
Officer Matthew Rodriguez, 36, was placed on administrative leave after the incident in the McDonald’s parking lot on East Santa Clara Street near U.S. Highway 101. The San Jose District Attorney’s Office said the 11-year veteran will self-surrender on the warrant and will be arraigned on the misdemeanor charge. He faces one year in jail, if convicted.
A Door Dash worker was picking up an order when he noticed a commotion involving police and started recording on his cellphone. Seconds into the video, the officer is seen kicking a woman who is on her knees in the stomach after she was ordered out of her car. He then tackles the woman while his partner officer points a gun at her. A passenger and children in the car can be heard crying out before bystanders start shouting at the officers.
In a press release, the district attorney’s office said the woman had complied with Rodriguez’s orders and had gotten on the ground voluntarily. Nevertheless, Rodriguez yelled at the woman, “I’m going to kick you in the (expletive deleted) face,” before kicking her in the stomach, the DA’s office said.
Rodriguez later reported the woman was not complying with his commands, a report that was contradicted by the video footage from both the bystander and the officer’s body cam video, which was not made available. The victim suffered contusions and lacerations to her face, stomach, and legs, the DA’s office said.
“Officers have a difficult job, but they also should be held to a high standard. No officer should use more force than necessary to take a person into custody,” said District Attorney Jeff Rosen in a prepared statement. “When they do, they not only commit a crime, they weaken the bonds of trust with the community that so many excellent police officers have worked their entire careers to build. The SJPD detectives assigned to this case conducted a fair, thorough, and professional investigation involving one of their own officers.”
After her arrest, the victim was booked into Santa Clara County Jail for resisting arrest, driving on a suspended license, and possession of paraphernalia. She was later released. After a review of the case, the DA’s office declined to file charges against her.