BUENA PARK (CBS) — Did Buena Park police use excessive force against a man they had in custody? In his jail cell?
Ivan Alvarez told CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Suraya Fadel, “I honestly thought they were going to kill me or that I would die in that cell.”
For the first time, Alvarez is speaking out about what he definitely said was excessive force..
While in custody two years ago, he says police violently attacked him — without provocation. “For them to beat me in a jail cell in their own facility — with a camera looking at them — I was thinking these guys are capable of anything.”
Alvarez, a father of two girls and a commercial truck driver, tells Fadel he is no criminal. “I tried to speak out. I was asking cops ‘Why am I in jail? Why are you guys doing this to me?”
He was arrested at a house party for allegedly interfering with an officer’s duties.
The camera inside the padding holding area does not record audio, reports Fadel.
Alvarez says he was just asking question. In a report, police say he was acting belligerent, screaming and cursing.
At one point, you see officers carry Alvarez, still handcuffed, towards the front of the cell.
Attorney James Segall-Gutierrez says at one point you can see four to five officers inside the cell. “This officer has his boot on my client’s head.”
Alvarez said he feared for his life. His attorney showed Fadel pictures of the aftermath of the beating. Says Alvarez, “I think it was inhumane what they did.”
A police report said Alvarez was struck several times in the thigh, stomach and back because he resisted. “And how am I going to resist with 5 officers on me,” says Alvarez.
Guitierrez has filed a complaint against the city of Buena Park and the Buena Park Police Department for jail abuse and violation of civil rights. “Once they took him into custody, their duty was to protect and treat him accordingly to the law.”
Fadel asked the police for a comment but they declined due to the pending litigation.
She said the city did comment, “The original complaint was received by the city several months ago. The complaint has been significantly limited in scope via an amended complaint recently served on the city by the plaintiff. Legal counsel is still reviewing the amended complaint.”