Police Investigate After Veteran Says Vallejo Officer Assaulted Him for Filming Traffic Stop

Vallejo police said Thursday they're conducting an internal affairs investigation after a man said he suffered a concussion while being detained for filming the officer conduct a traffic stop.

According to police, Vallejo police Chief Andrew Bidou ordered the investigation, although the department has yet to receive a citizen's complaint regarding the traffic stop.

The Jan. 22 incident was filmed by Adrian Burrell, 28 and posted to Facebook on Thursday morning.

Police said the entire incident was also captured on the police officer's body-worn camera and that footage will be reviewed as part of the investigation.

According to Burrell, the incident began when he was at his home on Byron Street and saw his cousin outside on his motorcycle with his hands up. Vallejo police Officer David McLaughlin was crouched behind the door of his patrol car, pointing his gun at Burrell's cousin, he said.

When Burrell went outside, he told the officer that his cousin couldn't hear him because he was wearing a helmet.

McLaughlin then allegedly ordered Burrell to go back inside the house. That's when Burrell said he took out his phone and began filming.

In the video, McLaughlin, with his gun drawn, says to Burrell's cousin, "Why you taking off like that?" and then looks at Burrell, who is on his porch, and says, "Get back!"

When Burrell refuses, McLaughlin says to the man on the motorcycle, "Keep your hands where I can see them, keep your hands right up," holsters his weapon and walks toward Burrell.

"You're interfering with me my man? You're interfering. You're going to get one from the back of the car," McLaughlin says.

"That's fine," Burrell says.

McLaughlin appears to begin handcuffing Burrell.

"Stop resisting me or I'm going to put you on the ground," McLaughlin says.

"I'm not resisting. Put me on the ground," Burrell says.

Eventually the camera swings around and lands on the ground.

According to Burrell, McLaughlin mashed his face into a wall and swung him into a pole. McLaughlin also allegedly applied the handcuffs so tight it broke the skin on his right hand and left his fingers numb.

Burrell said McLaughlin then put him in the patrol car and asked if he was on probation. Burrell said he's not on probation and has no criminal record.

Eventually, Burrell said he asked McLaughlin if he could be handcuffed in front, as he had injuries from being in the military. McLaughlin then said, "Oh you're a vet? You sure weren't acting like one," according to Burrell.

But Burrell says McLaughlin told him that he would let him go because he was a veteran, thanked him for his service and let him out of the car.

Burrell said he then went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion. He is still seeking treatment and says his fingers remain numb from the handcuffs.

Burrell said he was in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years before he was honorably discharged in 2012. He now works as a filmmaker.

"I've never been in a situation as a grown adult where I felt someone had took my humanity away like that," Burrell said.

Burrell has retained civil rights attorney John Burris, who called the case "egregious" and said the officer's use of force was "unnecessary and unreasonable."

Burris said that in addition to the allegation of excessive force, Burrell's case involves First Amendment issues, as Burrell has a right to observe and film the police as long as he does not interfere.

"The Vallejo Police Department does have a reputation certainly in my office of being brutal and routinely using excessive force on citizens," Burris said.

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