Vallejo Cop Punches Victim (US Soldier) for Complaining It Took Them 45 Minutes to Respond to His CallIn News on February 1, 2013 at 1:00 PM
The ABC7 News I-Team has uncovered a new complaint of excessive force against Vallejo police — the incident, caught on camera. The department is already reeling after a violent year, including six people shot and killed by officers.
The more I dig, the more questions I have. This story began when a package arrived in the mail from someone inside the department. It was a DVD, a police report, and a letter complaining about a “cowboy attitude” by officers and command staff.
Imagine you’re a police officer on patrol. It’s a warm summer day when the call comes in — a 22-year-old complaining his roommates beat him up and kicked him out of the apartment.
Officer Mustard: Are you injured?
Blake Robles: Yeah, they punched me in my face, they choked me out, ripped my clothes, tried to steal thousands of dollars’ worth of my stuff. It’s all out in front of the house.
The victim is upset how long you took to arrive.
Robles: And you guys took 45 minutes to get out here.
Ofc. Steve Darden: OK, well, listen to me, first of all, I’m not on your time watch. Second of all…
Robles: I know, I’m not on your guys’ time watch, you guys take for f**kin’ ever.
Darden: Second of all, second of all.
Robles: U.S. soldier, bro, know who you’re talkin’ to.
Darden: OK, are you gettin’ in my face?
Robles: Know who you’re talkin’ to. Are you gettin’ in my face? You stepped forward to me, I did not step forward to you.
Darden: I’m trying to talk to you.
At this point, what would you do? Do you try to defuse the situation, perhaps explain why it took 45 minutes to arrive? Do you direct the victim to step back, have a seat on the curb, and assure him you’re there to help? Or do you smack him in the head?
Darden: I know who I’m talkin’ to and you’re down, you understand that? So, you’re talkin’ to a United States Marine, you understand that?
Robles: You’re talkin’ to a US Soldier.
Darden: OK, you’re talkin’ to a Marine, so I suggest that you never step up and get in my face again when I’m talkin’ to you, do you understand me?
The I-Team tracked down the victim on the video, Blake Robles.
“And seeing this now brings back the anger and frustration that I felt that day when the people that were there that were supposed to come to help me were there to attack me,” he said.
Robles had never seen the video before, and it brought back a flood of emotion.
Darden: So, let’s start over.
Mustard: The act can stop.
Darden: Let’s start over.
Robles says when he was on the ground, the two officers pressed their knees into his chest and that he briefly blacked out.
Darden: Would you like to start over or, or do…
Robles: I’m done, I’m done.
Darden: Or do I need to further introduce myself.
Robles: I’m done, I’m done, I’m completely done.
Darden: I don’t need to further introduce myself?
Robles: I can’t breathe.
Mustard: Stand up son.
The officers accused Robles of faking it.
Darden: What was all that moaning and stuff you did on the ground?
Mustard: Just posturing for effect.
Darden: Was that ’cause my knee was in the center of your chest and you were having a hard time?