A grand jury has indicted two former officers in Stockton, California, for allegedly using excessive force against Devin Carter, a Black teenager who was involved in a car chase with police in 2020. The jury issued the indictment against Michael Stiles and Omar Villapudua on Sept. 1, NBC News reports. Both ex-officers are facing charges of felony assault by a public officer, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and great bodily injury enhancements.
“This indictment reminds all of us that when police use unlawful force they undermine community trust,” San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said at a news conference after the court unsealed the indictment on Friday.
The Stockton Police Officers Association issued a statement on Friday, saying the 17-year-old was a danger behind the wheel. The association also said Carter reached into his waistband as officers tried to detain him after the chase came to an end.
He “willfully and maliciously chose to lead officers on a dangerous and violent vehicle pursuit,” the union’s representative said.
Police added that the teen was driving “erratically and speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour.”
Carter’s family has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the officers who allegedly attacked the boy after the chase came to an end. Attorney John Burris showed photos of the teen’s bruised and swollen face. Burris said the violence against the teen is similar to the attack against Rodney King, who he represented in 1994.
The attorney also released body cam footage and audio from the incident.
“I’m not resisting,” the boy says in the video. “OK, OK, OK. I’m down.”
In a statement in April, Burris said his client was terrified as he suffered blows while remaining in the fetal position.
“Devin was afraid that the officers were going to beat him to death,” the attorney said.
George Carter said his son could suffer “lifelong trauma.”
“I would have never in my life known or thought that my son would have been pulled over, pulled out of a vehicle and brutally beaten,” the devastated father said at a news conference on Friday, ABC10 reports.
“There are no words to articulate the terror that we’re experiencing for our son,” the boy’s mother, Jessica Carter, added.
Carter, who allegedly caused a crash between a police vehicle and a civilian’s car during the chase, was temporarily booked into juvenile detention facility on charges of evading and resisting arrest.
Police said he led officers on a chase until his car spun out when officers used the pursuit intervention technique, a maneuver that involves deputies using their cruiser to push another car’s rear end sideways. As Blavity previously reported, the controversial maneuver killed at least nine people in 2020.
Twelve-year-old Leden Boykins, who was a passenger in a car that was being pursued by police earlier this month, died after officers used the PIT technique and caused the vehicle to flip.
“He helped teach my kids how to read. He helped teach my kids math. Everything you want in a son Devin is,” said Richard Black, the teen’s former teacher.
There were also several other community members who spoke up on behalf of the family during Friday’s press conference.
“The Carter family joins a long list of families who did not ask for this wickedness to visit their household,” said pastor Mike McBride.