A police officer involved with a traffic stop that ended with a woman being kicked and dragged through the parking lot of a San Jose McDonald’s was put on administrative leave on Friday.
San Jose resident Josh Gil shot the video Wednesday while picking up a DoorDash order. He said he was organizing the meals he picked up when he noticed police were in the parking lot.
Gil told San Jose Spotlight:
“I heard the cops pull up behind that woman. I think she was with a family member and two kids. They pulled the guns out on them and demanded to get out of the car.”
The woman, who was identified Friday by police officials as Guadalupe Esperanza Marin, 39, was arrested for driving on a suspended license, possession of paraphernalia and resisting arrest.
San Jose police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Garcia said one of the officers in the video was put on administrative leave, pending an internal investigation. He did not specify which one and did not release either of the officers’ names.
He said officers obtained a seizure warrant for the vehicle after it evaded officers on July 18 and July 22. It’s unclear why officers initially pursued the vehicle.
Gil said it appeared that Marin was in the driver’s seat and was cooperating as one of the officers told her to get out of the car with her hands up and to kneel down. There were one other woman and two children in the car.
The video then shows the officer kicking Marin while she was kneeling on the asphalt.
“He gave her, like, a spartan kick, like an unnecessary spartan kick to the stomach. You just see her wind get knocked out right off the bat.”
After Marin fell to the ground, the officer proceeded to handcuff her and drag her across the parking lot.
It appeared officers believed Marin was driving a stolen vehicle, Gil said. In the video, the passenger is heard saying that they had just bought the car.
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia on Thursday confirmed that officers made a vehicle stop based on a seizure warrant and ultimately impounded the vehicle.
Chief Garcia told San Jose Spotlight that regardless of the circumstances leading to Marin’s arrest, he has initiated an internal investigation of the use of force caught on the video.
“Even if she was guilty of the crime they suspected her of committing, they shouldn’t have used that excessive force on her because she was being compliant.”
Another officer in the parking lot had what appeared to be a gun raised toward the car, Gil said, as his partner kicked and dragged the driver from the car. The kids were in the backseat, he said.
“They demanded the kids to settle down and one of the babies was in hysteria.”
Both officers were white, according to Gil, and it appeared that the family was Latinx. He said the two children were old enough to walk.
“The oldest one was comprehending everything that was going on, that’s probably why there was so much hysteria and fear.”
Gil said he had to leave to deliver his DoorDash food, and did not see how the confrontation ended. He added that neither of the officers gave their name or badge number when asked.
Marin and the children were still being detained in the parking lot as he left.
“I just feel that the police who use excessive force or more authority than they’re allowed to should be fired and that shouldn’t be in their line of occupation. They just feel like they have all of this authority they can use with no consequences.”
The incident Wednesday comes as San Jose police are under fire for excessive force in May during protests during protests of the death of George Floyd by police in Minnesota, and racist posts by current and former San Jose officers revealed in a secret Facebook page.
City leaders, including Mayor Sam Liccardo, have proposed reforms such as banning the use of rubber bullets for crowd control, expanding the authority of the Independent Police Auditor and taking measures to prevent bad cops from getting jobs elsewhere.
Contact Mauricio La Plante at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @mslaplantenews on Twitter.
This story was originally published by San Jose Spotlight.