‘This is absurd’: 71-year-old Rocklin man speaks out following May arrest that left him hospitalized

Local News

ROCKLIN, Calif. (KTXL) — An elderly Rocklin man said he was wrongly arrested by police after he called them for help in an incident that occurred in May.

Sam Disilvestro, 71, was hospitalized and underwent heart surgery following the arrest. He had called 911 because he said someone else had threatened his life.

“I’m going to tell you something about the cops,” Disilvestro said. “I wouldn’t trust them as far as I can spit.”

Disilvestro said a woman in a passing car had threatened him at Vista Grande Park.

“She says, ‘You don’t belong in this park. I’m going to kill you,'” Disilvestro said.

He said the car pulled up next to him and he thought the driver was reaching for a weapon. That’s when Disilvestro grabbed his pepper spray.

“Blasted them,” Disilvestro said. “I called the cops immediately, say, ‘Hey, somebody’s threatened my life.'”

Rocklin police arrived and disagreed with Disilvestro’s account.

“The officers determined that the subject illegally used pepper spray when not in self defense,” Rocklin Police Sgt. Andre Booker said.

Disilvestro told FOX40 three officers forced him to the ground when he refused to be placed in handcuffs.

“They used the least amount of force to effect an arrest, basically put him in handcuffs,” Booker said.

Regardless of justification, Disilvestro said that use of force caused a torn rotator cuff and bicep and he suffered a concussion from his head hitting the ground.

When he was placed in the back of a patrol car, he passed out.

Police called for an ambulance and Disilvestro said paramedics placed nitroglycerine, used to prevent heart attacks, under his tongue.

He said he spent the next seven days in the hospital and underwent surgery, having two stents placed in his heart.

“He did call 911 for his safety, and he ended up in the hospital. He’s 71 years old. This is absurd.”

Christopher Kershner, founder of Police Crime Victims

FOX40 spoke with the Placer County District Attorney’s Office, which said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Disilvestro. They said they dropped the case in the interest of justice.

Disilvestro is being represented by Police Crime Victims, which has requested — and been denied — the body camera video from the officers involved.

“My client did not commit a crime,” said Christopher Kershner, founder of Police Crime Victims. “He did call 911 for his safety, and he ended up in the hospital. He’s 71 years old. This is absurd.”

Disilvestro said he’s hoping he can prevent another incident like this from happening.

“I’m looking for the justice, that’s it,” Disilvestro said. “What they did to me, I don’t want them doing to somebody else.”

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