Officers Accused Of Using Bean-Bag Rounds, Taser On Man In Wheelchair During Arrest

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Authorities say they are investigating an incident involving officers believed to have used bean-bag rounds and a Taser on a homeless man in a wheelchair.

Officers allege that the man later identified as Christopher Zareck, 43, tried to attack them, but their actions are being criticized.

Cellphone video captured the incident, which unfolded Friday night, as officers tried to take Zareck into custody near Broadway Avenue and Third Street.

The footage shows 10 LAPD officers surrounding Zareck, and shouts can be heard.

Two bean bags are then heard being fired at the man before a third round is discharged, according to the footage.

Zareck, still in a wheelchair, appears to kick his legs and scream, at which point officers move in and subdue him with a Taser, reported CBS2’s Peter Daut.

The LAPD declined to speak on camera but told CBS2 the man swung a pole at officers when they tried to take him into custody.

Zareck was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries and was later booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

“We are shocked. We are disappointed,” said Eric Ares of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, a Skid Row advocacy group that released the video.

The video is drawing criticism from LA CAN, which says the officers escalated force against someone who didn’t pose a serious threat.

“It seemed by the video it was unwarranted for them to use bean bags and a Taser to take down a gentleman that’s in a wheelchair, especially involving 10 officers,” Ares said.

The group says the extent of Zareck’s injuries are unclear but included a head wound he may have sustained during an earlier incident with a security guard, who called police.

The LAPD says it is now investigating the incident and looking at footage taken from the officers’ body cameras.

None of the officers involved has been placed on leave.

Police said they arrested Zareck earlier this year on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance. Police also said his record includes driving under the influence and hit-and-run.

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