Video footage of Ukiah Police Department officers pepper-spraying, tasing, and hitting a naked man with closed fists has drawn community ire with many seeing the officers’ use of force as excessive.
According to reporting by Justine Fredrickson of the Ukiah Daily Journal, officers were dispatched to the 1400 block of South State Street in response to reports of a naked man walking in the road. Officers found Ukiah man Gerardo Magdaleno when UPD Lieutenant Andy Phillips said he became “aggressive and took a fighting stance.”
Frederickson’s reporting on the circumstance indicates Ukiah Police Lt. Phillips believes Magdaleno was under the influence of methamphetamine. Phillips told Frederickson it is “very common for people under the influence of meth to get very hot and take their clothes off. [Magdaleno] was taken to the hospital to make sure he wasn’t suffering from meth psychosis.”
Veronikita Diaz, Gerardo Magdaleno’s sister, told us a nurse informed their family that her brother experienced facial fractures and a concussion as a result of the incident.
The first video of the interaction between Magdaleno and a UPD officer begins with the civilian falling onto his back possibly due to being shocked by a taser. Magdaleno stands back up, seemingly dazed and argumentative when the officer apparently begins pepper-spraying him while yelling, “Get on the ground!”
The second video begins with Magdaleno surrounded by three UPD officers, two are pulling outwardly on his arms and another is trying to get control of his torso or legs. Magdaleno maneuvers out of that position and falls to the ground on his back. Two of the officers kneel down next to him punching his torso and his head. A fourth officer appears on the scene and the group of officers successfully flip Magdaleno onto his stomach to handcuff him. One officer is clearly punching Magdaleno in the back of the neck and head while three others dogpile on him in an attempt to subdue him. In the midst of the activity, a visible flash can be seen on Magdaleno’s back indicating one of the officers tased him while another continued to punch the back of his head. Finally, a fifth officer appears on the scene just as the struggle between the officers and Magdaleno begins to subside.