Meriden Police Release New Details on Use of Force Investigation

Video of the arrest shows an officer striking a suspect while the suspect was lying on the ground.

Meriden Police Department

Meriden police have released new details about an officer’s use of force that raised questions when video of the arrest surfaced on social media earlier this month.

According to Meriden police, the situation on January 10 began when detectives saw a white Nissan driving recklessly. They followed the vehicle, which hit another car, causing injuries.

Police said that officers ordered the Nissan’s driver, later identified as David O’Brien, out of the car, but that the orders were ignored. Officers reported that they could see knives in the vehicle as they approached, and that O’Brien kept reaching toward “unknown items” as the officers got closer.

Officers got O’Brien out of the vehicle, but said he resisted, rolling onto his side and reaching toward his waistband. When O’Brien refused to follow their orders, police said they rolled him onto his stomach and an officer struck the suspect several times to get his hands under control and place him in handcuffs.

The video in question showed the officer striking O’Brien as he laid on the ground. Police previously said the use of force was not a violation of their policy.

 “We are keenly aware that use of force incidents are difficult to see, watch or witness.  Circumstances exist where the use of force, to bring a suspect under arrest, are permitted.  The Meriden Police Department has demonstrated a past where we hold one another accountable for policy violations. It is equally as important to support our officers in instances when they perform their duties in accordance with prescribed policy and law.,” Sgt Chris Fry said in a statement after the incident.

O’Brien was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, interfering with police, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, weapons in a motor vehicle, misuse of plates and theft of plates. He was released on bond and is scheduled to appear in court next month.

Police said the driver of the other vehicle needed 27 stitches to reattach his ear after the crash.

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