A Tucson police officer was arrested for aggravated assault Sunday, days after he hit a suspect while the suspect was handcuffed and on the ground, officials said.
Officer William Gallego was arrested Sunday after an internal criminal investigation reviewing body camera footage found he intentionally hit a suspect’s head with his shin during an arrest Thursday night, the Tucson Police Department said in a news release Sunday.
On Thursday around 7:20 p.m., officers were dispatched to the Roy Laos Transit Center, 205 W. Irvington Road, for a report of a fight between several people. When officers arrived, security told them the suspects already left, the Tucson Police Department said in a news release Sunday.
About an hour later officers returned to the transit center after a report that one of the suspects had returned, police said. A security guard at the transit center told officers he wanted the man arrested for trespassing, police said.
“After officers put handcuffs on the suspect, he became uncooperative and started to resist,” police said in the news release. “The officers tried rolling the suspect on to his side, but he began yelling, kicking his feet and refused to give officers his name.”
Gallego, a 16-year veteran with the department who resigned before being booked into Pima County Jail, responded to the scene to assist other officers. He recognized the man and called him by his name. The man spit on Gallego’s pant leg, police said. Gallego placed his boot on the back of the man’s head then walked to his car to get a restraint device, police said. The news release did not specify what kind of restraint device Gallego got.
Gallego walked past the man’s head striking him twice in the head with his shin, police said. Officers restrained the man’s legs and carried him to their patrol car. The man was booked into Pima County Jail on Thursday for trespassing.
On Friday, Gallego’s supervisor reviewed his body-worn camera footage and notified his chain of command to review the footage. After an internal investigation, detectives found there was probable cause for an arrest. Gallego faces one count of aggravated assault, police said.