Two former California police officers were indicted for assaulting a Black teenager during a pursuit and arrest last December.
On Friday (Sept. 17), San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar announced that former Stockton Police Department officers Omar Villadupua and Michael Stiles would each be charged with felony counts of assault by a public officer and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury. “This grand jury indictment reminds us all that when police use unlawful force, they undermine community trust,” Salazar said. “As the daughter of a police officer, I know how important that responsibility is to restore community trust, safety, and honor to the profession.”
Last year, Villadupua and Stiles beat Devin Carter after he was accused of driving more than 100 mph to his father’s home. The officers chased the teen for three minutes before he was forced to stop. Body camera footage showed the officers pulling Carter out of his vehicle. They yelled expletives at the boy and told him to stop resisting. Carter screamed in pain and told the cops that he was not resisting. “Yeah, you are! Give us your fucking hands!” one of the officers said.
John Burris, who represents Carter and his family, released photos of his client after the violent arrest.
He said his client feared for his life during the police chase. “There was fear on the part of Devin when police were pursuing him,” he said. “That’s the kind of fear an African American man will have on a dark road when there’s no one else who can protect you and save you.”
Burris also applauded the district attorney for the indictment. “District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar is to be commended for criminally prosecuting this Stockton police who brutally beat Devin Carter, a helpless teenager,” he said in a written statement. “This prosecution, regardless of the outcome, should send a clear message that in this county, there will be a severe price to pay for officers who use their badges to commit horrific crimes.”