Investigation Under Way After Arrest Caught On Cell Phone Video

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Photo: Video by NewsChannel5.com

Investigation Under Way After Arrest Caught On Cell Phone Video

CREATED May 27, 2014

LA VERGNE, Tenn. - Surveillance and cell phone video captured part of an arrest by La Vergne police officers and witnesses said things went too far.

The video shows police punching and even kicking Mario Ticas right outside his La Vergne apartment.

"They used too much force. I didn't hit back, I just told them, ' don't hit me; don't hit me. I didn't do nothing,'" said Ticas.

Early Sunday before 1 a.m., La Vergne police responded to a fight at an apartment complex on Murfreesboro Road. Ticas was not involved, but the altercation was outside of his apartment.

"Next thing you know I am down knees with my hands on the top of my head and they come just start swing,” he said.

Surveillance from the apartment complex and cell phone video shot by his cousin, Cindy Martinez, gave two points of view of the incident.

"They took it too far. He was down on the ground with his hands and they just kept punching him and then another came and started punching him and another just tackled him," said Martinez.

Pictures showed the bruises on Ticas’ face, neck and back suffered at the hands of police.

La Vergne police chief Mike Walker said the incident caught on the video was under review. He planned to the bottom of what happen during and before the tapings.

"I don't put anything under a rug, or hide anything in a corner or put it behind anything. I deal with things up front,” said Walker.

Chief Walker said the video only showed one part of the story. There were other videos from other sources that gave a more complete picture.

He said his officers did not attack Ticas. The video in question showed police with a K-9 unit taking a suspect down for public intoxication and assault.

At that point officers moved to take him into custody.

"After the police got there, apparently he refused to do anything he was told to do and with a group like that, you have to make sure you have control of the situation no matter what," said Walker.

Ticas admitted he did not immediately follow their instructions, but when he did he was attacked by multiple officers and a police dog.

"I didn't know what was going on and why they were coming after me. They should have figured out what was going on before they starting [fighting] people," said Ticas.

It would not have been the first time this has happened to Ticas. He admitted to previous convictions of assaulting an officer and resisting arrest.

"That was back in 2005, but that was the past. I'm a new man now; I'm older and more responsible now. I've got no time for that," he said.

One witness said police just went too far, striking Ticas several times. Officials said he was not seriously hurt.

He was arrested and booked into the Rutherford County Jail, and then released on bond.

Chief Walker said there an internal investigation was ongoing, and he has formally requested the District Attorney’s office to also conduct a separate investigation on the matter.

All La Vergne officers involved in the incident remained on the job doing their regular assignments.