A U.S. Marine veteran and filmmaker from Vallejo, California, says he was brutally assaulted by Vallejo police Officer David McLaughlin and suffered a concussion just for filming the officer from his front porch on Jan. 22.
Adrian Burrell, 28, posted a video of the encounter to Facebook on Friday morning showing the incident.
Burrell told KTVU that he was relaxing in his home at about 3:15 p.m. that day when he saw his cousin outside on his motorcycle with his hands up.
The former Marine said he saw McLaughlin crouched behind the door of his patrol car, pointing his gun at his cousin.
Burrell said he stepped outside onto his home’s porch and realized his cousin was wearing a motorcycle helmet and couldn’t hear the officer. He said he walked toward McLaughlin, saying, “Hey he can’t hear you, he has his helmet on.”
McLaughlin yelled at Burrell to go back in the house.
“This is concerning I better film this,” Burrell said he thought at the time.
Burrell, still standing on his front porch, said he took out his phone and began recording the incident.
In the video, McLaughlin, with his gun drawn, says to Burrell’s cousin, “Why you taking off like that?” twice, then looks at Burrell, who is on his porch, and says, “Get back!”
Burrell says no. McLaughlin says “get back” again, and again Burrell refuses.
Then McLaughlin says to the man on the motorcycle, “Keep your hands where I can see them, keep your hands right up,” holsters his weapon and walks toward Burrell.
“You’re interfering with me my man? You’re interfering you’re going to get one from the back of the car,” McLaughlin says.
“That’s fine,” Burrell says.
McLaughlin appears to begin handcuffing Burrell.
“Stop resisting me or I’m going to put you on the ground,” McLaughlin says.
“I’m not resisting. Put me on the ground,” Burrell says before the camera swings around and lands on the ground.
Burrell said that McLaughlin mashed his face into a wall and swung him into a pole. He applied the handcuffs so tight it broke the skin on his right hand and left his fingers numb. Burrell said McLaughlin then put him in the patrol car and asked if he was on probation. He said he is not on probation and has no criminal record.
Eventually, Burrell asked McLaughlin if he could be handcuffed in front, as he had injuries from being in the military. McLaughlin then told him, “Oh you’re a vet? You sure weren’t acting like one,” according to Burrell.
Burrell says McLaughlin told him that he would let him go because he was a veteran, thanked him for his service and let him out of the car. He said he then went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion. He is still seeking treatment and says his fingers remain numb from the handcuffs.
Burrell has retained civil rights attorney John Burris, who called the case “egregious” and said the officer’s use of force was “unnecessary and unreasonable.”
McLaughlin has been a Vallejo police officer since 2014 and was previously in the Oakland Police Department. His twin brother, Ryan McLaughlin, is also a Vallejo police officer. Both brothers have previously been sued for alleged civil rights violations.
In 2014, David McLaughlin was named in a suit alleging that he and another officer pulled over Frederick Cooley without cause, held him at gunpoint and searched his car. The complaint alleges they falsified a police report saying that Cooley was in possession of a controlled substance, but the Solano County District Attorney’s Office later abandoned those charges. The civil case was dismissed after Cooley died.
Officer David McLaughlin has also been involved in two shootings since joining Vallejo police.
McLaughlin was also seen pulling his gun out in a busy Walnut Creek shopping plaza on Aug. 11 while he was off-duty. The gun was pointed at Santiago Hutchins of Concord moments after Hutchins arrived at the restaurant to celebrate his 14-year-old son’s birthday.
Walnut Creek police responded to the scene and took down Hutchins with the help of an off-duty deputy who happened to be in the area. Video shows McLaughlin join in and throw punches and elbows repeatedly.