CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) – The man who received a beating by a Red Bank police officer is now out of jail and awaiting the outcome of a grand jury proceeding to see if he will face criminal charges.
After spending nearly six months inside the Hamilton County jail; Candido Madina-Resendiz was finally allowed to leave.
His young daughter and mother waited patiently in the main lobby of the jail. Once his worried mom saw him walk through the exit doors, she showed a big sigh of relief.
Medina-Resendiz first pick up his little girl and gave her a big hug then greeted his mom. The three then got into an SUV and drove back to his home in Red Bank where he was reunited with his wife and his newborn baby that he never got to hold while incarcerated.
"Mr. Medina is overjoyed to be back in the loving arms of his family. He has unfortunately been separated from his partner and their children and his mother during this time that has weighed heavily upon him," said his attorney Andrew Free.
Medina-Resendiz was charged with one count of DUI by consent which means he allegedly allowed a drunk person to drive his car while he was the passenger. Medina-Resendiz was also charged with one count of assault on a police officer and one count of resisting arrest.
But given the strange circumstances into how he ended up in jail; his defense attorneys, Andrew Free and Kyle Mothershead along with District Attorney General, Neal Pinkson and the judge presiding over the case came to an agreement to drop the $3000 bond and allow Medina-Resendiz to leave the jail on his own recognizance.
The only thing that was standing in the way of freedom was the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Medina-Resendiz was still considered an illegal immigrant because of an issue with his Visa. Technically, ICE agents had the option of keeping him in jail but elected not to do so once he passed a background check to make sure he was not involved in any other serious crimes. But there’s another reason why he was allowed to go free.
"Mr. Medina is a critical witness in both federal and state criminal investigations. Pursuant to the policies of the federal agencies involved, it would have been in appropriate to make him unavailable to participate in those federal and state investigations, Free said.
He is still facing the criminal charges pending a grand jury proceeding.
Medina-Resendiz and his attorneys are also contemplating a federal lawsuit against the Red Bank Police Department.
"We’re conducting a thorough investigation into not only the event that led up to Mr. Medina’s beating, but also the conditions within the Red Bank police force that would lead its senior leadership to conclude that beating was not only warranted but warranted accommodation," Free said.
Medina-Resendiz’s incredible story began on the morning of April 13.
He and another man identified as a Mr. Roque were pulled over on Dayton Boulevard by Red Bank Police Officer Mark Kaylor on a suspicion of DUI.
Mr. Roque was the driver who was taken into custody after failing a field sobriety test.
Medina-Resendiz was reportedly trying to get out the car when his friend was being arrested but that detailed information has become debatable since that part of the incident was not captured on Officer Kaylor’s dash-cam.
At one point, the video shows Medina-Resendiz being thrown to the ground by another officer. Medina-Resendiz was on his side on the ground when the officer appeared to grab him by the neck and say, "I’m going to Fu$%^@g kick your ass", while standing over top of him. They yelled at him to not resist but Medina-Resendiz reportedly didn’t understand English and was confused about why he was being arrested.
Soon after that statement was made, Kaylor is seen on video coming over and holding 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.
"Please you’re hurting me," Medina-Resendiz said in Spanish but the officers may not have understood Spanish and appeared to keep pressing him.
After Medina-Resendiz was tased, Officer Kaylor, who is much larger than Medina-Resendiz is seen laying his full body 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," Free said.
The beating Medina-Resendiz received left the front of his skull fractured so bad that he needed surgery.
"He had to have a metal plate inserted in his eye socket in order for it to be able to function," Free said.
Red Bank Police conducted an internal affairs investigation on officer Kaylor, and two other officers who were involved after a complaint was filed. When it was all said and done, all three officers 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.
The case became even more interesting months later when the District Attorney’s office found out the dash-cam video was not entered into evidence during the preliminary hearing.
WDEF obtained a copy of the audio recording from that hearing:
Medina-Resendiz’s former defense attorney, Joshua Weiss-
"There is a video that I requested. And I accepted the subpoena. Did you ever see this document?"
"Yes sir I did."
"And were you able to provide me a copy of the video?"
Kaylor told the court that only administrators have access to dash-cam video. Then he made this statement:
"I did not have video of myself."
"Did you see to it that this subpoena made it to someone else?"
"Because it was directed to me for any video that I have. I don’t have any video."
Kaylor told the judge he not only refused to pass the subpoena off to an administrator but that he didn’t have access to the video. But later in his testimony he makes a startling admission after telling the court that his access to video was limited.
"Were you able to view the video?
The hearing was was bound over to criminal court despite the failure to allow Medina-Resendiz’s attorney to present the video as evidence.
In September, just days after WDEF aired the story with the video-taped beating; the District Attorney General announced the case would go to a grand jury to determine if there was enough evidence to take the case against Medina-Resendiz any further.
After that announcement was made, Pinkston told reporters his office had asked TBI to investigate both the beating and the circumstances behind why the video was not made available for the preliminary hearing.
"Mr. Medina’s unavailability to expose what happened to him and to investigate why it happened and why no consequences followed after it happened was something that perhaps the Red Bank Police Department was depending on. Unfortunately, that day did not come for them and so now Mr. Medina will seek accountability from all the people who were responsible for the injuries that he suffered," Free said.
Days after it was announced that TBI was looking into the case, WDEF learned the FBI was also getting involved.
Since the story first made headlines, another person came forward with allegations of excessive force by Officer Kaylor.
Anthony Lopez, 34, said he also was a victim of police brutality by Officer Mark Kaylor the night he was pulled over.
Attorney Andrew Free is also representing Lopez.
"According to Mr. Lopez’s recollection, officer Kaylor’s pulled him from the vehicle; threw him to his knees; handcuffed him with his hands behind his back. At that moment when he is on his knees and handcuffed near his vehicle, he felt his skull hit the pavement and he looses consciousness," Free said.
"All I recall is stinging pain to my head from which I received road rash. My guess is that my head was scraped against the asphalt. I had lacerations on the front of my head on the side of my temple," said Lopez in a recorded audio statement.
Lopez was arrested for DUI, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and driving on a suspended license.
His blood alcohol test revealed he was below the legal limit.
Lopez and Medina-Resendiz met each other in the Hamilton County Jail and found it to be ironic that they were both arrested by the same officer who reportedly roughed them up while in the process of making the arrest.
WDEF has repeatedly reached out to Red Bank city officials to get comment about the allegations. The only comment WDEF has received is that city officials won’t make any comment as long as there is a pending federal lawsuit by Medina -Resendiz and his attorneys.
Attorney Andrew free said his client would still be in jail today if WDEF never took the time to investigate the case and air the video of his client being punched seven times.
"Mr. Medina is out of jail and back at home with his family and officer Kaylor is on a paid administrative leave and off the street. I do not believe that would have been possible without your reporting and your willingness to ask difficult questions and exposed what happened to the public," Free said.