San Diego

Caught on Cam: Chula Vista Police Officer Tackles Girl in Park Near High School

New video of a Chula Vista police officer tackling a teenager with his baton sparked outrage in the South Bay as students and their parents demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.

The Chula Vista Police Department is reviewing the actions of several of its officers following the altercation Wednesday near Castle Park High School.

Officers showed up at Loma Verde Park around 4 p.m. in response to someone allegedly flashing gang signs, a CVPD official said.

Students who hang out at the park, some of them waiting for their parents to pick them up after work, say there was no flashing of gang signs or any other activity that would prompt such a full-scale response.

Students said it actually started with a game of football.

“When they were passing I said 'Do you want to catch’ to the cop and then we threw the peace sign up and they left and later came back saying we were throwing up gang signs at them,” said 17-year-old Palomar High School student Logan Moreno.

Department officials said gang activity is known to occur at the park.

Manny Rubio, director of communication for the Sweetwater Union High School District, also confirmed they've asked police to keep a closer eye on the park during after school hours due to recent concerns of criminal activity.

Students said more than a dozen officers responded and started putting people in handcuffs. They said the commotion attracted more teenagers who gathered around as officers yelled at them to get back.

NBC 7 has obtained a video showing students being handcuffed on the ground as officers tell crowding students to step back. A male officer then tackles a girl onto the sidewalk.

CVPD said the girl threw a plastic water bottle at a female officer.

"We have one snippet of video that has been seen on Facebook that has a very limited viewpoint of what occurred," CVPD Captain Vern Sallee said. "It doesn't even really show the assault on the police sergeant... I can say nothing that we've seen so far would warrant changing the status of the officer's duty status."

Four minors, including three boys and one girl, were arrested and face charges related to gang affiliation and resisting arrest. The girl seen in the video being tackled was arrested for battery on a police officer.

All have since been released.

CVPD Lt. Peak said the department is reviewing the actions of those involved. No officers or students were injured, Peak said. 

No other information was available.

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