For release on September 29, 2020
Deputy District Attorney
SJPD Officer Charged with Beating Driver During an Arrest
A San Jose police officer was charged today with unlawful assault and battery under color of authority after he kicked a woman in the stomach and dragged her away from a vehicle while she was in handcuffs.
The incident involving Officer Matthew Rodriguez, 36, was caught on officers’ body-worn camera and a witness’s smartphone camera.
The officer – who is on administrative leave - will self-surrender on the warrant and will be arraigned on the misdemeanor charge when the court schedules that first appearance. He faces one year in jail, if convicted.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen said: “Officers have a difficult job, but they also should be held to a high standard. No officer should use more force than necessary to take a person into custody. When they do, they not only commit a crime, they weaken the bonds of trust with the community that so many excellent police officers have worked their entire careers to build. The SJPD detectives assigned to this case conducted a fair, thorough, and professional investigation involving one of their own officers.”
The incident occurred around 5:45 p.m. in a McDonald’s parking lot located on E. Santa Clara Street and N. 27th Street in San Jose. Two officers reported that they located a car that was wanted for evading police on two separate occasions, including earlier that day, with a male driver. The officers drove up behind the car, which was being driven by a 39-year-old woman. Also in the vehicle were a female friend in the front passenger seat and two children, ages 7 and 3, in the back seat.
With his gun drawn, Officer Rodriguez – who has 11 years on the force and was assigned to SJPD’s Violent Crimes Enforcement Team - ordered the driver out of the car. The woman complied and got down on the ground when ordered by the officer. After telling the woman, “I’m going to kick you in the (expletive deleted) face,” the officer kicked the woman in the stomach. He then dragged her for several feet away from the car by her handcuffs. The officer reported that she was not complying with his commands. Video footage contradicted the officer’s report, showing the victim trying to comply with the commands. The victim suffered contusions and lacerations to her face, stomach, and legs.
The victim was booked into Santa Clara County Jail for driving on a suspended license, possession of paraphernalia, and resisting arrest. She was later released. After a review of the case, the District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against the victim.