Dozens Protest Alleged Police Beating

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    Some North County residents are outraged over the beating of 21-year-old man last month, saying they believe a police officer hit him.

    Residents believe a police officer struck Antonio Martinez, who has Down syndrome.

    Dozens Protest Alleged Police Beating

    [DGO]Dozens Protest Alleged Police Beating
    More than 50 people in the North County Coalition of Concerned Citizens, waved signs and chanted to protest the beating of a man with Down's Syndrome. (Published Monday, Jan. 21, 2013)

    They say incidents like these are reason they live in fear.

    Martinez was walking to his family's bakery in Vista last month, when Melissa Mejia saw him beaten with a baton, kicked and pepper sprayed and then taken away in a Deputy's Vehicle.

    “I always thought cops were good,” said Melissa Mejia who said she witnessed the incident last month. “But just to see a cop do that someone like that, especially to somebody that has downs syndrome and isn't like, all there, it is just kind of heartbreaking.”

    The family says it was Deputy Jeffrey Guy, who was responding to a domestic violence call. The family says the Sheriff's Department apologized for the incident and offered a turkey, which they rejected.

    Around 50 people in the North County Coalition of Concerned Citizens waved signs and chanted to protest on Saturday night.

    “People are talking about it.  People are upset, people are outraged because this is happening and that there's no recourse for them,” said Tina Jillings with the North County Coalition of Concerned Citizens.

    The group says this is the latest in a series of incidents and there is a large divide between Vista's minorities and sheriff's deputies.

    For the Martinez Family, they hope a lawsuit will resolve the matter.

    “For the Sheriff Department to actually do their job correctly and not hurt any other families,” said Martinez’s sister Jessica. “And to get Jeffrey guy fired, out of here.”

    The Sheriff's Department did not respond to NBC 7 San Diego for comment.

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