City of Sacramento Police Department

DANIEL HAHN
Chief of Police
5770 Freeport Blvd., Suite 100
Sacramento, CA  95822-3516

(916) 808-0800
Fax : (916) 808-0818
www.sacpd.org

MEDIA ADVISORY/NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release No. 20170405-038
Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Department Releases Video of Violent Confrontation

This press release is a summary of the facts known at this time.  This incident is still being investigated and the preliminary information may change. 

On Monday, March 6, 2017, officers from the Sacramento Police Department responded to a disturbance near the 1100 block of Alhambra Boulevard where a shirtless man was reportedly running up to citizens outside an open business, expressing a desire to fight them.  The first responding officers located the subject, identified as 34-year-old John Hernandez, in the parking lot of 1125 Alhambra Boulevard.  Officers attempted to detain Hernandez, but he resisted their commands and fled across the street into an open medical facility at 1201 Alhambra Boulevard.

In an effort to detain Hernandez, officers pursued him into the open medical facility. One of the pursuing officers deployed his Taser but missed.  Hernandez continued to run through the facility, unsuccessfully attempting to enter an office.  At one point, Hernandez stopped in a narrow hallway, turned, faced the officers and took a fighting stance.  Officers tackled Hernandez in an attempt to physically detain him, but were met with violent resistance. 

 

A three-and-a-half-minute violent confrontation ensued.  During the struggle, two officers utilized their Tasers several times in the drive stun mode.  The Taser had no effect on Hernandez, as he continued to resist violently.  One of the officers abandoned his Taser and transitioned to a different department less-lethal tool, his baton.  The officer struck Hernandez with a closed baton in a jabbing motion to the upper back area.  This action also proved to be ineffective on Hernandez.

 

The struggle continued for several minutes causing the officers to suffer from fatigue.  Additional officers arrived and assisted the initial responding officers in detaining Hernandez in handcuffs.  At the time Hernandez was detained, he was alert and conscious.

 

Officers were concerned that Hernandez was possibly experiencing an excited delirium episode and immediately requested medical personnel.  Shortly after their arrival, Hernandez became unresponsive, and medics initiated CPR.  He was treated for nearly 25 minutes before being transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition.

 

Although this incident is still being actively investigated by the Department’s Homicide Unit, we recognize the significance of our interactions with Mr. Hernandez.  This case has generated a large amount of public interest, and in our continuing commitment to transparency, the Department is releasing the detailed fact pattern of the incident.  We are also releasing in-car camera (ICC) video, surveillance video, ICC and dispatch audio which captured portions of the event.  These recordings are now available to the media and citizens through the Dropbox and YouTube links below which will also be posted on the Department’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account (@sacpolice). 

 

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qw8w1l4kt8wkqy1/AABtqNwv2G4LXcPIVZKnoYJba?dl=0

 

** There is one remaining video that is not included in this link.  That video is from an interior camera at the medical facility. It depicts officers and fire personnel arriving at the scene and does not capture the altercation between Mr. Hernandez and officers.  This video will be processed for release and placed in the above Dropbox link once completed. ** 

The original press release can be found at:

http://www.sacpd.org/newsroom/releases/liveview.aspx?release_id=20170307-028

 

Timeline for the event on March 6, 2017:

(The times listed on the below timeline are approximations only.  They are meant to provide a chronology of events as they occurred.) 

·       1:53 p.m. – The original call was received by Police dispatch regarding a male with possible mental issues running up to people in the parking lot challenging citizens to fight.  The subject was described as a male Hispanic, with no shirt, wearing jeans and heavily tattooed. 

 

·       1:59 p.m.A duplicate call for service was received by dispatch advising that the subject was now wearing a hooded sweatshirt. 

 

·       2:22 p.m. – Three officers were dispatched to the call at the 1100 block of Alhambra Boulevard.

 

·       2:34 p.m. – Two officers arrived at 1125 Alhambra Boulevard and contacted the described subject in the parking lot.  The male was agitated, confrontational and refused to follow officers’ commands.  

 

·       2:35:01 p.m. – Officers on-scene requested emergency assistance from other officers as the subject took an aggressive stance towards officers and continued to refuse officers’ commands.

 

·       2:35:40 p.m. – The first officer attempted to deploy his Taser, but the device malfunctioned causing it to be inoperable.

 

·       2:36 p.m. – Officers reported the subject running from them into a nearby medical building.  The subject tried to access an interior office, but the door was locked.  A second officer deployed his Taser but missed.  The suspect took an aggressive fighting stance towards the officer.  This officer took the subject to the ground in an effort to control and detain him.  For the following two minutes, two officers engaged in a violent struggle with the suspect.  One officer tried to gain control of the suspect by utilizing the drive stun feature of his Taser.  The initial drive stun had no effect on Hernandez.  The officer cycled his Taser five additional times in different locations utilizing the drive stun technique, in order to gain compliance.  During this time, another officer was actively involved in the struggle, but both were still unable to gain control of the subject.

 

·       2:37 p.m. – The original officer, whose Taser malfunctioned, entered the building and observed both officers still struggling with the subject.  The officers were unable to gain control of Mr. Hernandez.  This officer removed a Taser from one of the officer’s belts who was involved in the struggle and deployed the drive stun feature of the Taser four separate times trying to gain compliance from the suspect. 

 

·       2:38 p.m.  – Four additional officers arrived to help restrain and detain Hernandez.  The three original officers were physically exhausted and unable to continue the struggle.  The additional officers took over and continued to struggle to detain him. 

 

·       2:40 p.m. – Mr. Hernandez is detained and handcuffed.

 

·       2:42 p.m. - The officers’ radios could not broadcast from inside the building so they physically went outside to request medical assistance for after-force care.

 

·       2:43 p.m. – Fire and medical personnel arrived.  Hernandez began to experience a medical emergency and stopped breathing.  Medical personnel administered CPR for 25 minutes before transporting Hernandez to a local area hospital.

 

·       3:08 p.m.  – The Fire Department arrived at Sutter General Hospital with Hernandez.

To date, Hernandez remains at an area hospital where he has been receiving ongoing care from medical professionals since the date of the incident.  While there are many questions about Hernandez’s behavior, witness and officer accounts have not been able to fully explain his intent or motivation.  

Based on a local hospital’s medical evaluation of Mr. Hernandez, he was found to have superficial abrasions only.  There is no indication of significant trauma or injury.  In addition, Mr. Hernandez had a very high level of methamphetamine in his system at the time of the incident.  This investigation is ongoing and has been conducted with oversight by the City’s independent Office of Public Safety Accountability.

The Sacramento Police Department encourages any witnesses with information regarding this case to contact the dispatch center at (916) 264-5471 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at (916) 443-HELP (4357) or submit an anonymous tip using the free “P3 Tips” smartphone app.  Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Sacramento Police Media Relations · (916) 808-0808 · pio@pd.cityofsacramento.org

The Mission of the Sacramento Police Department is to work in partnership with the Community to
protect life and property, solve neighborhood problems, and enhance the quality of life in our City.