Police investigate use of force in arrest of Murrieta man

An arrest involving a physical confrontation between Murrieta Police Department officers and a Murrieta resident is being investigated follo...

An arrest involving a physical confrontation between Murrieta Police Department officers and a Murrieta resident is being investigated following the release of a cell phone video that appears to show officers kicking and striking with a baton a man on the ground.

Alejandro Rojo, 22, was booked on charges including attempting to disarm a police officer and battery on a police officer with injury, according to a news release from the Murrieta PD. The confrontation began about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, when an officer was told by a bystander that a man inside a CVS Pharmacy on Hancock Avenue was causing a disturbance.

According to police, the subject began fighting with the officer and attempted to grab the officer's holstered firearm. The fight continued outside the store, where additional officers arrived. According to the news release, "officers attempted multiple force techniques in an attempt to stop the suspect from attempting to disarm the officer. Ultimately, the officers were able to overcome the suspect and place him under arrest."

The case received additional attention when cell phone video of the outside confrontation taken by a witness was posted on Facebook, appearing to show two officers kicking and striking the subject while he was down. That video was played on local television news stations Wednesday night, prompting outrage expressed by some on social media sites. A look at an earlier part of the confrontation also surfaced Wednesday, however, with store surveillance video showing the subject appearing to resist arrest and reach for the officer's gun inside the store.

The incident is being reviewed by investigators as a matter of policy, according to the news release. Police said the suspect was inside the store tearing open packages of medical supplies and possibly ingesting them.

One officer suffered a broken hand in the scuffle and the suspect received multiple abrasions and cuts, police said.

The cell phone video posted on Facebook by Rosie Vincent can be viewed here:

The store surveillance video posted on the Murrieta Police Department Facebook page can be viewed here:

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