San Diego

Dozens Gather Outside Courthouse as Fate of Man From Controversial Chicano Park Arrest Remains Uncertain

Eddie Alvarez was arrested on June 27, and the encounter was caught on video, which sparked outrage from some members of the community

Dozens of protesters gathered outside a downtown courthouse Monday in support of a man whose arrest in Chicano Park sparked controversy last month.

Eddie Alvarez, 22, is a member of the Brown Berets of Aztlan -- a group that observes police activity at Chicano Park, according to the Party for Socialism and Liberation - San Diego Facebook page.

He was arrested on June 27, and fellow group members said the San Diego Police Department was too rough with Alvarez. The arrest was caught on video, sparking outrage with some members of the community.

On Monday, Alvarez was supposed to make his first court appearance at the San Diego Superior Court downtown; however, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office told NBC 7 the case was still under review.

When Alvarez’ friends and group members learned he was not appearing in court Monday, they protested outside the courthouse for more than 90 minutes.

NBC 7 obtained video in June that showed the moment officers took Alvarez to the ground, and several witnesses can be heard saying that the arrest was unwarranted.

SDPD said the incident started when 35-year-old Georgina Mercado interfered with an officer and sergeant making a traffic stop.

Mercado was taken into custody and officers tried to contact someone to release her three children, ages 8, 7 and 4.

SDPD said Alvarez arrived at the scene with another female, and they said they would take the children, but Alvarez, wearing a bandana that covered his face, refused to identify himself to officers.

Police said the interaction with Alvarez escalated to the point where officers arrested him for interfering. Alvarez allegedly refused to put his hands behind his back during the arrest attempt, so officers struck him and forcefully moved his hands so they could handcuff him.

However, his mother, Alicia Rodriguez, claimed Alvarez did not resist.

“As a mother, when you go through that, it’s very heartbreaking. But, my son -- I don’t know how to explain it -- he didn’t deserve that,” Rodriguez said. “He did not deserve any of the punches on his back and his ribs. He didn’t deserve that. He wasn’t resisting, so there was no need for all that.”

Rodriguez was at the San Diego Superior Court Monday, and she told NBC 7 watching the video of her son’s arrest was difficult.

“He’s a really good person -- good heart. He helps out the community. He does toy drives for the community,” Rodriguez said.

The San Diego City Attorney’s Office has one year to decide if charges will be filed against Alvarez.

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