Man Says MPD Tased without Cause

Hip-hop musician files claim against the city, police for using excessive force during 2011 arrest.

Police followed a Martinez hip-hop musician into a Valero gas station, surrounded his car with guns drawn, ordered him out, and Tased him in the back without provocation while he held his arms in the air.

So attests Eric Gilson, 36, who has filed a claim -- a precursor to a lawsuit -- against the city and its police department over a October 11 contretemps on Center Boulevard.

Gilson, whose professional name is Rico Rossi, said police used excessive force then charged him with resisting arrest.

But Police Chief Gary Peterson said Gilson left some critical elements out of his account. Gilson was wanted on a felony arrest warrant, had brandished a weapon at an unidentified individual before pulling into the station, and had refused to comply with officers' demands. 

"He’s got pending felony charges for domestic violence against him,” Peterson said. "We did an internal review and our guys were within policy."

A video taken from a security camera shows Gilson raising his arms in the air and taking a few steps backward, as apparently instructed, while a heavy-set officer points a stun gun at him. Gilson sinks to his knees, remains there, then suddenly drops out of view. Other officers appear to be circling around him as he lay on the ground, although he is out of camera range.

But Peterson has called the videotape into question.

“The video he posted leaves out fair amount of time where he was in and out of the vehicle several times,” Peterson said.

In a criminal complaint filed Aug. 1 Gilson is charged with two counts of stalking in violation of restraining order and one count each of battering, falsely imprisoning, making criminal threats and inflicting corporal injury to his estranged wife; child abuse and two misdemeanor counts of cruelty and child endangerment; and one felony count of first degree burglary of his family's home on Dec. 29, 2011. His case is pending.

 “I intend to vigorously defend Mr. Gilson against these charges,” said lawyer Joseph Tully in an email message. “The video, in terms of Mr. Gilson being Tasered in the back while he is on his knees with his hands up, speaks for itself and the charges submitted to the district attorney’s office were prepared and brought mostly by the same individuals involved in the Taser incident.

“There is a lot about this case that gives me great cause for concern that the investigation was biased and/or one-sided and that fair justice was not pursued against Mr. Gilson.”

Dave Jackson November 20, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Nice going MPD,we support your efforts fully. Don't give felons even a small opportunity to do harm in this city!
Dave Thomas November 21, 2012 at 05:08 AM
I was not surprised that an officer was caught on video as video is everywhere. What surprises me is that if you look at the dates involved the justification involves matters that happened months and now a year AFTER he was tased. Lets even assume that he has a felony warrant for his arrest on the day he was tased. He branished a weapon but no weapon was found. So he was charged with resisting arrest. I observed three officers. Two had their guns pointed at him left and right. I have been told that Sgt. Walkup was to his rear. The officer on the persons left is issuing instructions. He tells the person to raise his hands over his head. The person complys. With his hands in the air he is told to get on his knees. As he looked down to do that (hard to get on knees with hands up) the officer to his rear shoots him with a taser. I saw my son or your son... clean cut and doing what he was told tasered. Gary Petersen has no choice but to defend his officers. So it appears that this person complained and as a result the Martinez Police Department filed charges 8/1/2012.
Dave Thomas November 21, 2012 at 05:10 AM
I second your motion. Lets, however, agree that the next person will be your son or daughter or your elderly father on his way to church. Gotta test those lasers every once in a while.
morning glory November 21, 2012 at 06:25 AM
Ummm yeah Mr. Thomas your argument stinks 'cuz my "elderly father on his way to church" isn't a convicted felon...and I pray to God that none of my children are either but if they are I hope the police do taser them.
MIKE ALFORD November 21, 2012 at 07:41 AM
O.K. --- heres the deal --- when you get pulled over by a police officer --- he tells you your under arrest ---- get on your knees --- Do It ! no questions asked --- keep your mouth shut --- dont say a word --- the faster you get booked --- the quicker you can get bailed & talk to an attorney ! now thats the only thing that makes any sense ---- dont go back and forth to your car --- dont move around or even talk back your just going to make things worse for yourself --- But In a way Mr. Jackson I do see your point about not giving felons even a small opportunity to do Any harm to our city ! ----- But you left out The Planning Commission & The Entire City Counsel !!! ------- Those Are The Ones That Need To Be Watched And Are Doing The Most Damage To The City Of Martinez Make NO Mistake About That !!!!!!!


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