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By Scotty Reid
Another thug cop has been caught on film launching an unwarranted physical attack on an unarmed Black male. Despite the heightened awareness surrounding police brutality with each week seemingly producing new videos of police misconduct, some cops just do not care and even though they know they are being filmed, they brazenly launch assault after assault against their victims. This blatant behavior can only be explained by the fact that police brutality is and always been systemic and “bad cops” can usually depend on “good cops” to defend their criminality.
On May 5, the victim Robert Branch was driving to work on Interstate 8 in San Diego County in California when he passed a a car in front of him. After passing the car, Branch said the other driver in an apparent act of road rage tried to force him off the road.
“I’m in the dirt. We’re literally side by side, so now I start picking up speed so I can just back on the freeway,” Branch told ABC affiliate Team 10.
Branch would later exit the highway and pulled over and parked in a nearby neighborhood while still being followed by the driver who turned out to be Detective Paul Ward of the San Diego sheriff’s department. Branch not knowing what Ward would do began to record using his cell phone. Branch claimed that Ward never identified himself as a police officer before he attacked Branch. At least two witnesses back up the story told by Robert Branch and agreed that the thug cop did not have justification to use force.
The Sheriff’s department while claiming to be investigating the incident issued a press release that clearly sides with Detective Paul Ward.
“On Monday, May 4, 2015, at about 5:30 p.m., San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Detective Paul Ward was returning to Sheriff’s Administrative Offices after conducting an interview in East County. Detective Ward was on duty at the time. As he was preceding west bound on I-8, in the area of I-125, he observed a vehicle coming up behind him at a high rate of speed. The car swerved to the left, driving onto the dirt center median, fishtailed, and narrowly missed colliding with Detective Ward’s car. The car continued driving erratically, weaving in and out of traffic, west bound on I-8. Detective Ward did not follow the car, but noticed it up ahead, when traffic slowed. He observed this vehicle take the College Avenue exit and he began to follow at that point.
The car ultimately stopped and parked in the driveway of a residence in the 6300 block of Lambda Drive. Detective Ward and the driver of the other car, 25-year-old Robert Branch, exited their respective vehicles. Detective Ward verbally identified himself to Branch as a San Diego Deputy Sheriff and produced his badge and identification card. Branch was wearing a black tactical vest with “Security” on the front with an attached gun holster.
Detective Ward asked Branch for his license and registration, at which time Branch became agitated, uncooperative, and refused to comply with Detective Ward’s request. Branch claimed Detective Ward was not on duty.
Detective Ward attempted to check Branch for weapons, however, Branch physically resisted those attempts. Detective Ward explained to Branch he was being detained, however, Branch refused to comply and began to walk away. At this point, Branch started to record the encounter on his cell phone. As Branch continued to resist, he turned his back to Detective Ward. Detective Ward could not see his hands or if Branch was reaching for a gun or other weapon from the front of his vest. At that point, Detective Ward applied the department-approved carotid-restraint to bring Branch under control. Detective Ward requested a passerby to call the police. Branch passed out for several seconds and then regained consciousness, where he continued to be uncooperative, hostile, and attempted to flee. Detective Ward again placed his arm around Branch in a carotid restraint position, but he did not apply pressure to render Branch unconscious.
Branch continued to struggle when Detective Ward observed Branch holding a canister of pepper spray in his hand. Detective Ward instructed Branch to drop the pepper spray, and at this time, Branch did relinquish it. Eventually, Branch calmed down, complied, and was instructed to sit on the curb and wait for the San Diego Police Department to arrive.
Branch complained of neck pain and to ensure he did not suffer any injury, paramedics were summoned. Branch was transported to Scripps Mercy Hospital for medical evaluation and was subsequently cleared to be booked into jail. Detective Ward was later treated for minor injuries.
Branch was booked into Central Jail for Resisting an Officer (felony) and Reckless Driving (misdemeanor). The case has been referred to the District Attorney’s Office for review and evaluation.
Any time force is used by a Deputy Sheriff, the incident is reviewed to determine if department policy was followed. This encompasses all elements of the situation, to include tactics.”
Obviously the narrative being forwarded to the public by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department does not match the witness statements.