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Man Claims Citrus Heights Police Used Excessive Force During His Arrest

CITRUS HEIGHTS -- The fence is still locked in front of the boarded up, three-story house where an electrical fire burned everything back in June.

"All's I can remember yelling is this is my mom's house, this is my mom's house," said Dryw Westerman.

Westerman's childhood home in Citrus Heights was burning.

"I'm just trying to figure out where my daughter is, where my mom is," he said.

But instead, the 34-year-old father, who has no criminal history, ended up going to jail.

Westerman says police used too much force that day.

"The subject refused, and again tried to drive forward, causing one of our officers to have to get out of the path of the vehicle he was driving," said Sgt. Richard Wheaten with the Citrus Heights Police Department said.

Police say Westerman was trying to drive through police tape at the scene, something they admit people attempt regularly when emotions are heightened because they are worried about their family members.

"It is rare for people to go this far to not follow directions when we're trying to help get them to their family and help keep them safe at the same time," Wheaten said.

Westerman was charged with resisting arrest and being an unauthorized person in an area closed for safety.

"Wasn't blocked off at all, I had plenty of room to go down there," he said.

Westerman says he was trying to turn down a side street that wasn't blocked off and that he explained that to officers. But he says they opened the door to his car and twisted his arm out of the window.

"Pressed me against the steering wheel," Westerman said.

And then he says they tackled him to the ground while he was wearing shorts, burning his knees on the hot asphalt.

It's something he's seen happen in Citrus Heights before with James Nelson about a mile and a half away and within days of his arrest in June.

"I'm grateful that didn't happen to me, but it could have been me," Westerman said.

Westerman says the burns on his knees are much less severe, but he also got abrasions on his wrists from the handcuffs.

"His injuries are not consistent with a burn or anything like that," Wheaten said.

The police department says he was brought up from the asphalt rather quickly and that Westerman's story is not entirely accurate.

"I wasn't raised like that," Westerman said.

Right now, he's raising his 4-year-old son, Michael.

"He teaches me everything," Michael said.

When Michael grows up, he wants to be a cop.