A man who punched a San Diego Police Department officer in the face during an altercation was found guilty Friday of three of the four charges against him.
A jury convicted Frederick Jefferson, 39 of one count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and two counts of resisting an executive officer.
He was found not guilty on the third count of resisting but was found guilty on the lesser charge of resisting arrest.
The dramatic altercation 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
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.
"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.
Jefferson faces less than nine years in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 31.