Chief places officer on leave, orders independent investigation
May 22, 2012 — A Susanville Police Department (SPD) officer who allegedly used excessive force making an arrest outside a noisy party at a South Gay Street residence May 16 has been placed on paid administrative leave, and the incident will be subject to review by an independent agency.
Responding to a call from the newspaper, Susanville Chief of Police Tom Downing said, “I’ve placed one of my officers on paid administrative leave, and I’ve hired an outside investigative firm that’s going to investigate this incident to the fullest and make a recommendation to me. I can’t make any further comment because it’s a personnel matter.”
Downing declined to identify the officer placed on administrative leave.
Several witnesses to the event reported the police used excessive force while arresting Jordan Patrick Drury, 24, of Janesville, and the incident has raised concerns within the community. After receiving nearly 100 comments from the public on its website, the newspaper decided to close the comment section following the story.
The chief said he wanted the public to know his department was looking into the incident. He said outside, independent investigators are often used in cases such as this one that might tend to erode the public confidence in a law enforcement agency.
Downing also dispelled one of the rumors circulating in the community — that Drury — one of two men arrested at the late night party, was arrested by SPD officers on three charges including being drunk in public when he reportedly had not been drinking.
The chief said according to the police report, Drury, the incoming associated student body president at Lassen Community College, was arrested on a single felony charge of resisting arrest.
“The drunk in public and all of that I’ve heard, we didn’t arrest him for that — that I’m aware of,” Downing said. “The police report doesn’t say anything about that being a charge.”
According to a press release from the SPD issued the day after the incident, officers responded to a loud party complaint about 11:20 p.m. May 16.
When officers arrived, they observed multiple individuals in the backyard. As the officers attempted to contact the individuals, they went into the residence and refused to speak with the police.
After a short time, the officers were able to contact a few people who exited the residence into the front yard.
Drury was one of those people. According to the press release, he was asked to leave because he did not reside at the residence. Drury refused to comply and a verbal exchange ensued with the officers on scene. As the officers attempted to place Drury under arrest, he allegedly resisted, resulting in a physical altercation. During the altercation, officers deployed their department-issued tasers to subdue him and take him into custody.
Lassen County District Attorney Bob Burns said he ordered Drury’s release from the Lassen County Jail. He said he had rejected felony charge of resisting an officer, and his office was reviewing the case as a misdemeanor.
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