Man Convicted of Punching SDPD Officer at Rally Has Died

Man Convicted of Punching SDPD Officer at Rally Has Died

The man who was sentenced Friday for punching a San Diego Police Department officer in the face during an altercation has died, NBC 7 has learned.

Frederick Jefferson, 39, was sentenced to seven years in prison for one count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and two counts of resisting an executive officer.

The Medical Examiner's Office confirmed to NBC 7 that Jefferson's body was in their possession but did not confirm how or when he died.

A jury convicted Jefferson in early August for the charges stemming from the dramatic altercation, which was recorded by another officer’s body-worn camera.

The video shows officers confronting Jefferson as he walks down the middle of Logan Avenue, about a block away from a tense protest underway at Chicano Park.

The video was paused and restarted by attorneys when it was played in open court. We have pieced together several segments of the video so that it plays in real time

*The video was paused and restarted by attorneys when it was played in open court. We have pieced together several segments of the video so that it plays in real time*

 

(Published Friday, March 9, 2018)

Officers instructed Jefferson to get on the sidewalk, and when he refused they warned him that he could be ticketed.

Next, one of the officers reached out to grab Jefferson, and that was when the physical confrontation started.

Jefferson's shirt was ripped as he threw several punches, but missed. At that point, Officer Matthew Ruggiero used his baton to strike at Jefferson who then connected with a punch to Ruggiero’s face.

With the help at least four more officers, Ruggiero was able to wrestle Jefferson to the ground. In the closing seconds of the video, blood spatter can be seen pooling on the concrete near Jefferson’s head, but SDPD said the blood belonged to Ruggiero.

Ruggiero suffered a broken nose, jaw and other facial fractures, according to the department.

At a preliminary hearing in April, Jefferson showed no reaction when the video was played. His public defense attorney argued that Jefferson was only reacting to the officers' attempt to grab him.

The officer whose body cam video was shown in court, said he was concerned because Jefferson was wearing clothing that matched colors worn by one of the nearby protest groups known to be violent.

A man suspected of punching an SDPD officer in the face when opposing rallies clashed at Chicano Park over the weekend appeared in court Wednesday. NBC 7's Artie Ojeda reports.

(Published Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018)

"He had not been patted down, he hadn't been checked for weapons, we had previously found weapons on other members attending the protest. So my safety and officer Ruggiero's safety was the primary concern at this point,” the officer said.

Officer Ruggiero has since returned to work.

The video was paused and restarted by attorneys when it was played in open court. We have pieced together several segments of the video so that it plays in real time