On July 8, 2016, at about 4:25 pm, an officer, a four-year veteran of the department, conducted a traffic stop in the area of Burbank Blvd. and Lima because the front seat passenger was not wearing his seatbelt. The officer contacted the passenger, a 16 year-old male subject, who told the officer he’d “forgot” to put his seatbelt on. The driver, the subject’s mother, told the officer she was in a rush to get to her destination.
During the course of the traffic stop, the subject began to argue with his mother and the officer. At one point saying, “I want a personal room. Me and him. Hand to hand.” While the officer was explaining that everyone in the car is required to wear a seatbelt the subject interrupted multiple times with provocative and inflammatory dialogue.
At this juncture, the officer chose to deescalate and disengage from the situation, so he returned the driver’s license to the driver, issued an advisal instead of a citation and asked the subject to put on his seatbelt. He refused to do so, telling the officer he would only do that when he walked away. The officer took a step back from the vehicle at which point the subject put on his seatbelt.
As the traffic stop was coming to a conclusion, the subject told the officer he was going to “fight him right now.” He removed his seatbelt and kicked the car door open, striking the officer on his knees. The officer noticed the subject had wrapped his arm around his mother’s head and neck as she tried to keep him inside the car. The subject, using profanity, “dared” the officer to call for backup and continually stated he wanted to fight him.
The subject broke free from his mother and exited the vehicle. He removed clothing, approached the officer and took a fighting stance. He then advanced on the officer and, again using profanity, told the officer to pepper spray him. As the subject approached, the officer used his pepper spray, but it did not have an effect. The subject punched the officer multiple times on the head and upper body, knocking his glasses off. The officer then used his Taser to stop the subject’s combative behavior. The subject was then placed in handcuffs as additional officers arrived on-scene. No further force was involved in the detention.
The subject was taken to a local hospital where he was medically cleared and ultimately transported to a mental health facility where he was admitted. This case, which was captured on the officer’s body worn digital audio recorder, is being investigated by our Juvenile Detail for potential criminal filing.
As with all use of force applications by members of the Burbank Police Department, this incident will be reviewed by the Critical Incident Review Board to assess officer conduct and address any training or equipment needs.