MERIDEN— Police on Friday released a timeline detailing the events that led officers to use force in the arrest a 30-year-old Higganum man earlier this month.
A passerby captured the arrest on video, which was widely shared on social media.
David Michael O'Brien, 30, faces multiple charges — including possession of a controlled substance, interfering, reckless driving and possession of weapons in a motor vehicle.
According to the police timeline, on Jan. 10 a detective was on a surveillance assignment when he saw a four-door Nissan Altima, reportedly driven by O’Brien, driving erratically on Lewis Avenue, weaving into opposing traffic and driving through two red lights.
The detective and another officer — neither of whom were named — pursued the Altima in order to obtain its license plate. The officers located the vehicle in Lincoln Plaza on West Main Street after it had struck the side of a red Honda Accord. Officers saw the Altima's driver side door was open and its air-bag had deployed. O”Brien was still in the vehicle.
Police said the officers identified themselves and ordered O'Brien to step out, but he did not comply. Officers observed him reaching around the vehicle for unknown items.
According to the timeline, the officers continued to repeatedly identify themselves as police and saw several knives in the vehicle.
Police said the officers tried to remove O'Brien from the vehicle, but he resisted and kept trying to reach for what were described as “unknown items.” The officers were eventually able to remove O'Brien from the car, but he resisted their attempts to subdue him by rolling on his side and reaching toward his waistband.
The struggle continued, with officers instructing O'Brien to stop resisting. Once officers moved O’Brien on to his stomach they began to strike O'Brien, as shown in the video “to get compliance” from him as officers did not have his left hand “under control.” Police said O'Brien instead continued to keep that hand in his waistband.
The struggle continued until officers were able to gain control of his left hand and place O'Brien in handcuffs. Police said once they had O'Brien detained they moved to the Honda to help to the vehicle's driver, identified as David Ortiz. Police said his ear was almost completely torn off in the collision. Reattaching it required 27 stitches.
A police official and the city manager have said they do not believe the officers violated the department’s use of force policy.
O'Brien, who was released on bond, is scheduled to reappear in court on Feb. 13.