Witness Describes Homeless Man’s Violent Arrest

STANISLAUS COUNTY -- A friend translated as Micaela Garcia described what she saw last Friday night, right before someone else at Modesto's Caruso Corner shopping center captured disturbing video that now has a Stanislaus County deputy under investigation for repeatedly hitting a homeless man.

"He was running the wrong way," she said in Spanish.

The cell phone video, recorded without audio, shows what happened after deputies and Modesto police responded to calls from the area. Those calls were about a man's erratic behavior in thick traffic at the intersection of Crows Landing and Hatch roads.

In the video it appears Deputy Taylor Knight hit that man at least eight times with another officer on scene eventually trying to pull him back.

"I was scared 'cause they had the kids inside, so they got in there quick and locked it, but I did feel bad for the guy who was getting beat up," Garcia said through the translator.

Garcia was selling flowers at one end of the parking lot Friday night, just as she was one week ago. She says the man, who is 33-years-old, according to investigators, came at her before being taken down.

"He ran over here, tried to get in the car but they locked it," she said.

The man, hit by three-year department veteran Deputy Knight, was originally facing felony suspicion of resisting arrest with force or violence, but the sheriff says what he saw in the video didn't support that. The charge was dropped to a misdemeanor for delaying or obstructing a police officer and he was released within 48 hours of arrest, having suffered minor cuts to the head.

Christianson also told FOX40 the man officers were trying to get under control and handcuff is a transient who is well-known to the department.

Despite that, that kind of force against someone, someone admittedly creating a hazard but still just running through traffic, didn't make any sense to Garcia.

"After watching that I think this place is kind of dangerous, but then again I think the cops shouldn't be that rough with a person," she said.

The man hit in the video has not been identified.