Video released by Elk Grove Police of use of force incident; one officer dismissed, another resigns following internal investigation

This afternoon, the Elk Grove Police Department released a video of a use of force incident that resulted in the dismissal of one officer and the resignation of another. 

The video, which can be viewed below, followed an early evening shoplifting incident on June 5, 2019, at the Burlington store on East Stockton Boulevard. The videos were captured by a dash and body-worn cameras.  

The video shows the encounter from several perspectives of officers as they approached two shoplifting suspects. Officers responded to the store after receiving a call from store personnel that the suspects, one of whom was Juan Antonio Mendoza, 23, had assaulted loss prevention personnel inside the store.

The video's show encounters of an officer identified as Officer Schmidt, who was apprehending Mendoza. As Mendoza laid on the ground but had not spread his arms as commanded, he was approached by Schmidt.

The video revealed Mendoza suffered kicks to the head (5:40 in the video) administered by Schmidt and he acknowledged (9:50 in the video) his actions as he spoke with what appears to be a supervising sergeant.  Mendoza was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

In the video, Elk Grove Police Chief Timothy Albright said after the incident came to his attention at a later date, an internal investigation was initiated. The complete names of the officer and sergeants were not released, but the officer was a 14-year year law enforcement veteran with four and half years with EGPD, and the Sergeant was a 22-year veteran with 14 years with the EGPD.

The EGPD's press release said an attorney for Mendoza had filed a claim against the police department. It did not reveal what, if any settlement there was, but Albright noted the importance of protecting taxpayers and ensuring the department maintains strict professional standards. 

Albright stated the actions were not in compliance with department procedures and training standards. 

After the administrative review, the sergeant resigned on February 24, and Officer Schmidt was terminated on March 4. Schmidt is appealing the termination.   

Mendoza is in custody at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center on two counts including a rearrest for a previous robbery charge and felony assault of the Burlington store employee. His next court appearance is on April 16 in Department 62 of the Sacramento Superior Court.  

The video can be viewed here

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.


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