RPD hires outside investigator after video surfaces of officer hitting man filming arrest

RPD hires outside investigator after video surfaces of officer hitting man filming arrest
A surveillance video captured the incident at Joe’s Market on First Street and West Macdonald Avenue on May 5.

The Richmond Police Department has hired an outside investigator after videos of an officer reportedly striking and handcuffing a man as he filmed an arrest near Joe’s Market at First Street and West Macdonald Avenue on May 5.

On social media, Richmond Police Chief Bisa French said the police department is aware of this incident.

“We have hired an outside investigator to investigate this interaction,” French wrote.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Kwesi Guss, 44, was standing outside Joe’s Market in Richmond on May 5 when he heard police sirens approaching.

Guss explained that he often records police activities, and on that day, a driver engaged in a high-speed pursuit with the Richmond police stopped in front of the store. 

The driver and their passenger exited the car with raised hands. Guss then took out his iPhone and started recording the situation.

Guss’ video and surveillance video of the interaction posted online show the car stopping at the intersection and four police SUVs converging on the car.

Another RPD SUV arrives on First Street and pulls next to Guss. The officer can be seen running around the back of the SUV and shoving Guss, yelling, “Out of the fucking way.”

Guss responded, “Shut your bitch ass up.”

The officer turned around, asking, “What was that?” as he ran toward Guss. “Get out of the way; you are interfering. Back the fuck up. Backup now you are interfering with an investigation,” he said. While Guss can be heard saying, “You better get your hands off me, mother fucker.”

Surveillance video shows the officer shoving Guss five times before a woman places herself between Guss and the officer. A second officer then runs over, grabs Guss, and tackles him to the ground.

Guss said the officers told him he was being detained for obstructing justice and resisting arrest. 

He was released shortly after arriving at the station and was not given any arrest or citation paperwork. Guss said he was also denied a copy of the police report.

Guss visited the hospital three times and was treated for a head injury and pain in his lower back, wrist, and ribs, according to the Chronicle.

Guss identified the officer who hit him as Alexander Caine, a sergeant in the department. He recognized Caine from previous interactions, as Caine has been a member of the Richmond force since 2009 and previously worked for the San Pablo Police Department.

Caine is one of two officers who fatally shot 66-year-old Kevin McDonald in the 1200 block of Sanderling Island while serving a search warrant on June 28, 2023.

Update: Police discover explosive, guns at Pt. Richmond shooting scene
Updated on June 29, 2023, 4:00 pm Police were still actively searching a Pt. Richmond home Thursday afternoon where police fatally shot a suspect while serving a warrant in Point Richmond earlier this week. Detectives had so far uncovered an explosive device and several guns, according to police. Officers

On Friday, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office released a 42-page report on the fatal shooting, concluding the use of deadly force by Caine and Detective Robert Branch was justified. 

“In applying the law and the California District Attorney’s Uniform Crime Charging Standards to the present case, Richmond Police Detective Robert Branch and Richmond Police Sergeant Alex Caine acted in lawful self-defense/defense of others, and their use of deadly force was justified,” the report stated.  “As such, no further action will be taken in this case.”

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