San Luis Obispo County

Experts weigh in on SLO police released body cam footage

Experts weigh in on SLO Police released body cam footage

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - New video shows a violent encounter between San Luis Obispo Police and a theft suspect. The department released the video Thursday afternoon. 

The body camera footage shows the violent encounter police had with suspect Gregory Bratt, accused of stealing some signs from a gas station.

It all happened when the officers moved in to arrest him.

On the video officers can be heard yelling repeatedly, "Put your hands behind your back! Put your hands behind your back!"

Bratt can be heard and seen screaming in desperation, "What did I do?! Ahhhhh! You broke my arm. "

The incident happened on May 29 when officers were called to the Chevron station on Higuera and Marsh Street downtown.

"I didn't do nothing wrong, I thought they were free they were just sitting here you know," yelled Bratt in the video. 

Arresting officers found Bratt had an arrest warrant, so they tried to take him into custody. 

He, however, didn't seem to know why he was being arrested and according to police resisted arrest. 

Police said that it is a standard practice not to let a suspect know why they are being arrested for safety reasons. However, in this incident officials say they did let Bratt know, but that you just can not hear it on the video. 

Legislation was passed last September requiring police to release records and video footage when using excessive or deadly force during an arrest. 

"Assembly Bill 748 was passed which requires law enforcement to release any use of force information where there is a police shooting or the individual is likely to die or have great bodily injury," said San Luis Obispo Police Captain Jeff Smith. 

Retired FBI agent Dan Payne says the new laws are a double-edged sword. 

"It does create more transparency, but it creates legal issues too because you have rights of privacy, of the gentleman who was being taken into custody, as well as the rights of privacy to the officers," said Payne. 

Payne also said the public should not be the ultimate decider due to a video being released. 

"You want the trial in a court of law, you don't want the trial in a court of public opinion," said Payne. 

The police department investigated the incident and found the officers were justified in their actions. They said Bratt was charged with resisting arrest, possessing methamphetamine, and grand theft.

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