SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The corner has confirmed the name of the man who died in Sacramento Police custody shortly after a violent struggle with officers.
We showed the footage of John Torretti’s arrest to former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness, who says it’s too early to blame the officers for his death.
“That’s the tough part of what they are called in to do,” he said.
The video shows an officer laying on top of Torretti as a female officer strikes the suspect with a baton. Minutes before the struggle, officers say Torretti had barricaded himself within a Metro PCS store on the 8300 block of Folsom Boulevard. From there, a violent fight broke out, spilling to the sidewalk where the video was shot.
McGinness said he believes force was the only way to bring the suspect into custody after he ignored commands from the officers.
“My strong belief is that at any time had he complied with what they were telling him to do, the use of force would have stopped,” he said.
Sacramento Police say officers used pepper spray on the 42-year-old with no effect before the officer pulled out her baton.
“The baton blows don’t go on forever,” McGinness said. “It’s not as though she’s enraged and can’t control herself.”
McGinness says someone who violently resists arrests is rate. he says not only were police trying to stop the man from hurting others, they were also protecting their own weapons during that struggle.
“Officers die with their own weapons being used against them, that’s not a rare occurrence,” he said, “so they have an obligation to keep that weapon under control.
“Should he break free and engage in the same or similar conduct that he had just displayed, the outcome could be very, very bad for other officers or members of the public.”
The officers involved in the deadly altercation are on paid administrative leave, which is standard operating procedure for a case like this.
As the holiday weekend draws to a close, several questions still aren’t answered about the Friday struggle, including how the suspect died and the names of the officers involved.
We have also have not heard from Sacramento Police Chief Samuel D. Somers, who we are told is on vacation.
On Tuesday, the Sacramento County Coroner said in a statement Torretti did not suffer major traumatic injuries. Toxicology reports are pending.