Video shows officer use stun gun on suspect

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. – The Oceanside chief of police has called for an investigation into an arrest after video surfaced showing a police officer shoot a stun gun at a suspect whose hands air in the air.

About 36 hours after the incident that ended in the arrest of 31-year-old David Avila, Oceanside police released 911 calls, video from police body cameras, video from a neighborhood resident, and a message from the Oceanside police chief saying the video “has raised concerns to me.”

The 911 calls came around 4 p.m. Tuesday from a woman who claimed a man stopped her father from driving down the street and told him to get out of his car. She said her dad reacted quickly and rolled up his window, but the man attempted to stab him .

Another caller claimed the man had a sword.

A resident recorded video as officers approached Avila. An officer can be heard shouting, “Get on your knees, get down on your knees!”

Avila dropped the weapon he was holding and kicked it in the direction of an officer, but then he took a step or two toward that officer. An officer then yelled, “Stay back! Stay back!”

Avila didn’t comply, and body camera video show the officer holster his service weapon, pull out a stun gun and fire it at Avila.

“I just think he wanted to be transparent in this situation,” said Oceanside police spokesman Tom Bussey, referring Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy’s decision to release the video and 911 calls.

FOX 5 asked Bussey what McCoy meant when he wrote the video “raised concerns to me.” Bussey said the chief wasn’t working Thursday but may have been referring to some training tactics. Bussey said the use of force by the officers to arrest Avila was appropriate and that the officer who used his stun gun has been with the department for more than 15 years and will remain on active duty.

“[Avila] was told to kneel down and he didn’t. He was told to stop and he took two steps,” said retired San Diego police Lt. Ray Shay, who taught lethal force and taser tactics to police. 

“I looked up ‘Oceanside police use of force,’ and it says there can be use of Taser if there’s a history of violence, and everything here fits in those parameters,” he said.

Shay pointed out how quickly the officer who fired the stun gun switched from his service weapon.

“The officers did a great job,” he added. “They transition, called him ‘sir,’ and said, ‘Sir, step back!’ This is a textbook low-lethal situation. I would use it as a training video.”

Avila is currently being held with bond set at $1,000,000 bond.

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