RED BANK, Tennessee(WDEF) – The Red Bank police department is now facing the possibility of a federal lawsuit after a dash cam video captured an officer beating a suspect’s head into the ground.
It happened in the early morning of April 13, but WDEF did not learn about the incident until late August and began investigating the video as well as the statements by the officers involved.
According to a Red Bank police report, Officer Mark Kaylor made a traffic stop in the 2100 block of Dayton Boulevard after suspecting the driver was under the influence. The driver was identified in the report as a Mr. Roque.
After conducting a field sobriety test on the driver, Kaylor placed him in custody.
According to the same report; the passenger who was identified as Candido Medina-Resendiz, made several attempts to exit the vehicle after he was ordered by Kaylor to remain inside.
According to Kaylor’s report; Medina-Resendiz eventually exited the vehicle and Kaylor asked reserve officers Tim Brown and Scott Miller to take the passenger into custody.
The report says Medina-Resindez resisted their efforts to take him into custody by pushing and pulling away. The report also says Officer Miller took Medina-Resendiz to the ground where his face struck the pavement causing a cut.
While on the ground, Medina-Resendiz reportedly continued to resist by refusing to put his hands behind his back so he could be cuffed so another officer tased him to gain compliance.
In his report, Officer Kaylor said Medina-Resendiz attempted to bite him so he struck Medina-Resendiz in the face.
Kaylor and the other officer reportedly got the handcuffs on Medina-Resendiz then carried him to a squad car where they say Medina-Resendiz continued to resist. The resistance reportedly led to Medina-Resendiz being tased again before the officers had the situation under control.
Those accounts of what happened came from Kaylor’s report, but a police dash cam video shows something entirely different.
Attorneys Andrew Free and Kyle Mothershead are representing Medina-Resendiz. They provided WDEF a copy of the video as well as an audio recording of Kaylor’s interview during a preliminary court hearing. They also provided WDEF a copy of the police internal affairs complaint and investigation report.
Both attorneys have reviewed the video several times and pointed out scenes they say contradict Officer Kaylor’s report.
“The officers took Medina-Resendiz to the ground; they struggled with him; they tased him multiple times. After getting his hands behind his back with multiple officers on top of him, Officer Kaylor pounded him in the head with a closed fist seven times. That pounding caused an orbital fracture to his skull,” said Mothershead.
WDEF reviewed the video several times and here is an account of what was seen:
· Soon after the driver was taken into custody, officers were seen going to the passenger side of the car. Then an officer is seen throwing Medina-Resendiz to the ground. Medina-Resendiz was on his side then the officer appears to grab him by the neck and say, “I’m going to Fu$%^@g kick your ass”, while standing over top of Medina-Resendiz.
· Soon after that statement was made, Kaylor comes over and holds Medina-Resendiz’s head down while telling him to stop resisting. Then an officer is heard saying, “let’s shock this mother$%^&r.” An officer is also heard telling Medina-Resendiz, “We’re going to shock your ass.” The officer told Medina-Resendiz several times to put his hands behind his back while they were on top of him. Then the sound of a taser could be heard and Medina-Resendiz screaming in pain.
· After Medina-Resendiz was tased, Officer Kaylor, who is much larger than the Medina-Resendiz laid on top of him. Then the video showed Kaylor punching Medina-Resendiz seven times to the back of his head.
Medina-Resendiz’s attorneys believe the punches to the back of the head forced his face to be pounded into the pavement.
“We hope that people who see this video understand that a use of force like this is so far outside what is considered to be normal police work. That threatens all of us; the fact that an officer is able to use this force and then after an internal investigation, go back on the job makes us all less safe,” said Free.
The incident was investigated by the Red Bank Police Internal Affairs division in July, and all the officers involved were exonerated from allegations of excessive use of force.
“They not only exonerated Kaylor, they even commended him for the admirable restraint that he showed in their eyes,” said Mothershead.
WDEF also examined a 42-minute audio recording of Officer Kaylor’s testimony during a preliminary hearing inside the Red Bank City Court.
Kaylor could be heard telling the defendants previous attorney, Joshua Weiss, that he did not have video of himself from his own squad car dash cam on the morning in question. The attorney subpoenaed that video and could be heard asking Kaylor why he did not make sure the subpoena made its way to a superior officer.
“Because it was directed to me,” said Kaylor, who was responding to the question.
Later during a period of questioning from District Attorney Jason Manastas, Kaylor said he struck Medina-Resendiz but only in the face several times because he felt Medina-Resendiz was trying to bite him. But the video does not show Medina-Resendiz facing upward when Kaylor was delivering the blows; instead Medina-Resendez appeared to be face down as he was being hit.
WDEF re-examined the video and made another observation.
When Kaylor asked the driver if he spoke English, the driver told him yes but very little. At no point in the video did Kaylor appear to request a Spanish speaking officer from the department or another law enforcement agency for help.
Medina-Resendiz did not speak English and at no point in the video did the other officers call for a Spanish speaking officer or deputy to communicate with him. Instead, the officers were seen yelling orders at Medina-Resendiz in English but never attempted to ask if he spoke any English.
“It’s very apparent from viewing the video that Mr. Medina-Resendiz was extremely confused about what on Earth was happening to him. The reason why he was being taken down was not explained to him in either English or Spanish and he’s confused about what’s happening and why he’s being thrown to the ground,” said Mothershead.
“The actual blows to the head by Mr. Kaylor are not the result of a failure in communication. Those were the result of a conscience choice by this officer to apply this potentially deadly force to our client’s head. No communication would have justified his decision to do that,” Free said.
The injuries Medina-Resendiz sustained to the front of his skull were considered serious and required surgery.
“He had to have a metal plate inserted in his eye socket in order for it to be able to function,” Free said.
As part of their report, Red Bank police included the three times they have been called out to a situation involving Medina-Resendiz.
Twice in January of 2012, Red Bank officers responded to a domestic disorder involving Medina-Resendiz and his girlfriend but no arrest was made. In May of 2013, Medina-Resendiz was arrested for domestic assault and received a misdemeanor conviction.
He is currently an illegal immigrant, so he’s not allowed to make the $3000 bail until immigration officials figure out what to do with him.
WDEF asked Medina-Resendiz’s attorneys if his immigration status may have played a role in the incident that transpired on the morning of April 13.
“Mr. Medina-Resendiz’s status was certainly not in the mind of Officer Kaylor when he leveled seven closed fist punches to Mr. Medina’s Skull. He didn’t even know his name. So any attempt to bring that into the discussion is an attempt to deflect from the conduct of these officers. It would be unfortunate if the city of Red Bank attempted to do that,” Free said.
“Whether you’re a guest, citizen or undocumented migrant, there are constitutional limitations on what government agents can do to people within the borders of the United States. This was not appropriate,” said Mothershead.
Medina-Resendiz’s attorneys said the average person on the street would have been charged with assault for beating a person in the back of the head. WDEF asked them why Officer Kaylor is not facing charges.
Medina-Resendiz’s attorneys have requested documentation on other cases involving Kaylor to establish a pattern of behavior. Depending on what they find, a federal lawsuit may possibly be filed against the city of Red Bank.
In the meantime, news of the incident has already crossed the U.S. border into Mexico where Medina Resendiz is from.
A Mexican television station did a full report on the police beating and interviewed Medina-Resendiz’s father who was upset about the incident.
Last week his father flew to Tennessee to visit his son. WDEF tried talking to the father in person but there was a conflict in the schedule.
The man at the center of an apparent police beating caught on video is no stranger to controversy.
In April of 2013, Officer Mark Kaylor was at the center of a very high-profile traffic stop that was also caught on camera.
Back then, Kaylor arrested Thomas McQuiddy, 22, on a suspicion of DUI. The field sobriety test was conducted in plain view of Kaylor’s squad car dash cam.
For months, Mcquiddy maintained his innocence and even welcomed the outcome of blood results he said would clear his name.
His name was finally cleared in October of last year when a judge dismissed the case after lab results confirmed Mcquiddy’s innocence.
On that same day and inside that same courtroom, a judge dismissed two other DUI arrest by Kaylor because there was no evidence to support those drivers were under the influence.
Two years ago, Kaylor earned the MADD DUI Enforcement Officer Award of 2012 after making 167 DUI arrests within the city of Red Bank. He even talks about the arrest on his web page but he doesn’t say how many of those arrests actually resulted in convictions.
In October of last year, right after Mcquiddy was acquitted on the DUI charge, WDEF spoke to defense attorney Jerry Summers. Summers has represented numerous DUI defendants who were arrested by officer Kaylor.
"He’s a pleasant fellow but I say he picks the apples when they’re green which means if you got the odor of alcohol on your breath you’re going to jail and he’ll leave it up to the judge," Summers said.
In 2011, Kaylor was involved in a controversial traffic stop of a 911 dispatcher who was suspected of DUI. The dispatcher was not arrested but an internal affairs investigation began after an anonymous email was sent to Chief Christol.
The anonymous email alleged that Kaylor and another officer showed preferential treatment to the driver because of her law enforcement affiliation.
But after an internal investigation, all the parties involved in the case were cleared of any wrongdoing.
Dash Cam Video of Beating(Warning – Explicit Language) Press Here