Sheriff Bill Gore Monday defended a decision by a member of his department to use an electric stun gun to subdue an uncooperative 13-year-old runaway during a weekend arrest behind a Fallbrook grocery store.
“The deputy was very conscientious,” Gore said at a news conference at sheriff’s headquarters in Kearny Mesa.
The events that led to the scuffle, which was videotaped by bystanders, began about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, when Deputy Jeremy Banks found the errant boy loitering with a group of skateboarders near the intersection of Ammunition and South Mission roads.
Banks asked the youth, a repeat runaway who had been at large for a day and a half, roughly 20 times to get into the lawman’s cruiser for a ride home, according to Gore. The teen repeatedly refused to comply, then grew combative, the sheriff said.
“What we really (had) is an out-of-control juvenile,” Gore told reporters.
As the confrontation grew more heated, the deputy tried to physically restrain the boy, who struggled, resisted and bit Banks on the forearm, Gore said. The deputy then deployed the stun gun and was able to take the teen into custody.
Banks and boy were taken to Temecula Valley Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The teenager, whose name was withheld because he is a minor, was booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of resisting arrest and assaulting a peace officer.
Upon hearing about confrontation, the boy’s mother apologized to department personnel for her son’s behavior, Gore said.
The sheriff said his preliminary review of the incident led him to believe that Banks had handled it appropriately, violating no laws or policies.
The department will review the citizen cellphone videos of the encounter as part of its continuing investigation of the circumstances that led to the arrest, Gore said.
—City News Service
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