In response to a viral video, the Mission Police Department released a statement Thursday that officers used “reasonable force” when they arrested an uncooperative man.
The video showed two police officers struggling to arrest Miguel Angel Garza Jr., 32, of Mission on Wednesday afternoon near a restaurant on the 2400 block of East Interstate 2.
During the struggle, a male officer appears to put his knee on the man’s neck. The man starts kicking and squirming. Moments later, the male officer repeatedly punches the man in the head and neck.
Joe Zarate, who said his mother recorded the incident, posted the video on Facebook at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday. More than 41,000 people had watched the video by 1 p.m. Thursday.
“The officers, having knowledge that the defendant was wanted for a violent felony and was now being combative, used reasonable force to effect the arrest,” according to a statement released by the police department. “During the process of restraining the defendant, officers felt they were in imminent danger as the defendant placed his hand under his body reaching to his waist line.”
The female officer injured her hand during the struggle, according to the statement. Concerned about her injury as the man continued to struggle, the male officer “began to impact the defendant using pain compliance” — an apparent reference to the male officer repeatedly punching the man in the head and neck.
Officers responded to the 2400 block of East Interstate 2 at 4:51 p.m. Wednesday, according to the police department, after receiving a report about a man lying on a grassy area in the parking lot.
When they arrived at the parking lot, officers approached Garza.
“Upon contact, they detected that the defendant emitted an odor of alcohol,” according to the statement released by the police department.
Officers asked Garza for his name and date of birth. When they checked with dispatchers, the officers were told Garza had a pending warrant for failure to appear in a robbery case.
“At first, he complied with the officer’s request to place his hands behind his back, however, he then started to resist,” according to the statement.
After a struggle — which was recorded by a passerby — the officers arrested Garza.
“The defendant was transported to Mission Regional Medical Center to be seen by a physician, however, he refused medical treatment,” according to the statement. “Our female officer was treated at Mission Regional Medical Center for a fracture to her left finger.”
Garza is charged with assault on a peace officer, a third-degree felony, and resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor.
An attorney who represents Garza couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on Thursday afternoon.