Community Groups Demand Carlsbad Police Use De-Escalation Techniques

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“We’ve been seeing this across the nation and today we’re saying no more.”  Those words directed at the Carlsbad Police Department after officers used a taser on a Black man who refused to let them put him in handcuffs.

The incident occurred on June 11, after Carlsbad Fire Department paramedics responded to reports of a man lying face down on the sidewalk at Ponto Road and Carlsbad Boulevard.

The man was upright and talking to paramedics when officers arrived. That’s when the man who appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol began moving toward paramedics using threatening language. 

The officers reacted by grabbing one of the man’s wrists and attempting to handcuff him.  That’s when the man became violent, struggling to get away from officers while shouting vulgarities.  Police used a taser on the man and finally wrestled him to the ground and handcuffed him.

The video full video can be viewed here.

“There were zero attempts to de-escalate,” said Yusef Miller, a member of the North County Civil Liberties Coalition.  Miller said the man was “volatile, not violent” but said after police grabbed his arm, the situation went from “volatile to explosive”.

A group of about 20 people joined Miller for a news conference outside the Carlsbad Police Department Friday to demand the department penalize the officers involved and do a better job of de-escalation training.

“Speaking, talking to a human being to de-escalate the situation is what should have happened, and with the current understanding that people who have mental health issues, or on drugs and are acting erratic, the last thing you want to do is touch them. The last thing you want to do is restrain them. That’s only gonna escalate the situation,” Miller said.

“Thank God he didn’t die like our brother, George Floyd,” said Robert Jenkins of the North County NAACP.

People from several groups said now is the time for police reform.

“At this moment we are all Carlsbad,” said Andi Macleod who is part of a group called Showing Up For Racial Justice North County.  “None of our towns in America have the reforms that we would like to see to the extent they need to happen to provide safety and equal rights for everybody in America.”

“It’s time to get busy. The time is now,” she added.

NBC 7 reached out to Carlsbad Police for comment, but a spokesperson said no one available to talk. She later sent a long list of de-escalation courses officers have taken in the department.

"The Police Department understands that ongoing officer training is crucial for effective community policing. To that end and to provide additional information, here is a list of de-escalation related training that has been provided to Carlsbad Police officers."

  • In December of 2015, officers received an 8-hours of Emotional Intelligence Training.
  • In 2017, officers received an 8-hour Crisis Intervention Behavior Health Training.
  • In 2018, Officers received a 2-hour Bias Based Policing Training and will receive the training again in the summer of 2020.
  • In November or 2018, officers received a 2-hour Tactical Communications Training and will receive this training again in November of 2020.
  • In December of 2019 and January of 2020, officers received training about changes to the law and the use of force. This was part of AB 392.
  • In December of 2019, the Police Department hosted and had officers attend the first De-Escalation Training offered by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. The department assisted the District Attorney’s Office with the creation of the training curriculum.
  • In 2020, the department created, with the assistance of the District Attorney’s Office, an 8-hour in-house De-Escalation Course. This training will be attended by all officers.
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