Body cam video released of Petaluma man’s in-custody death


WARNING: The video below is graphic and contains explicit language

SONOMA COUNTY (KRON) — The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office released body camera video of a violent in-custody death that happened last month and said they plan to fire a deputy involved in the incident.

David Glen Ward, 52, of Petaluma, died after being tased and put into a corotid neck hold on November 27.

Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said deputies mistook Ward for a carjacking suspect.

Ward was driving his own vehicle which he had reported stolen days earlier, but never told police he had found it.

Sheriff Essick says Deputy Charles Blount was put on administrative leave as they investigated the incident. But after reviewing the video, they handed him a termination notice, he said.

“If you watched the body-worn camera video closely, you may be concerned about what you saw. So was I,” Sheriff Essick said. “The way Deputy Blount handles the entire situation is extremely troubling. As a result, I’ve served Deputy Blount a notice of termination.”

The incident began when a deputy tried to pull over Ward but he fled, setting off a pursuit.

Two Sebastopol officers also responded, and the two patrol cars boxed him in. Another deputy arrived, and the four ordered Ward to open the door. He wouldn’t but eventually rolled down the window, authorities said.

A deputy tried to remove Ward through the window. When they are unable to get him out of the day, they shock him with a stun gun. At the same time, a deputy is seen in the video slamming Ward’s head against the car.

Another deputy then uses a corotid neck hold where pressure is applied on the sides of the neck, cutting off blood flow to the brain and causing a temporary loss of consciousness, authorities said.

Shortly after an officer opened the passenger door, dragged Ward out and handcuffed him, he began having trouble breathing.

An officer performed CPR, and Ward was rushed to a hospital, where he died.

The cause of death is still under investigation by the Marin County Coroner’s Office.

Family members tell KRON4 Ward was disabled from a car accident that happened about 15 years ago and was unable to get out of the car.

His mother said her son suffered from a heart problem.

“He had a heart problem, a hole in his heart. He sat in a wheelchair most of the time and had to take oxygen. And when they put the hold on him, I assume they cut off his oxygen,” she said.


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