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Former police officer takes stand in excessive force trial

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The second of four police officers on trial for use of excessive force and obstruction of justice took the stand in Federal Court on Wednesday.

All were members of the Fresno Police Department when they were involved in the arrest of Rolando Celdon, in October of 2005. Former K9 Officer Sean Plymale testified in his own defense today.

Plymale and his police dog Tymo were the first to encounter Celdon, who was wanted for questioning in a domestic violence case. Plymale testified he saw Celdon on the street, and told him to stop.

He said Celdon complied.

He added that his police dog, Tymo got very excited when he saw Celdon. Plymale said he let Tymo out of the car. The dog then attacked Celdon as he ran away.

Plymale testified Tymo bit Celdon's ankle, as the man climbed a chain link fence.

Both Celdon and the dog went over the fence.

Plymale testified he then shot Celdon with a stun gun, because he was fighting to get the dog off his ankle.

Plymale said he then climbed the fence and punched Celdon in the face.

He said he thought the impact broke his hand.

During his testimony Plymale seemed to have a difficult time explaining why he wrote in his police report that he thought Celdon had a weapon.

He explained he thought he saw something shiny, in the suspect's vicinity.

But then Plymale acknowledged after Celdon had been subudued by other officers, he found a beer bottle more than one hundred feet away, and placed it at the scene.

He was also quizzed on why he altered his police report about the incident.

Plymale is being tried on charges of obstruction of justice, along with the three other officers. Two are also charged with using excessive force. Plymale was fired from the Fresno Police Department after the Celdon incident.

He is now employed by the Madera Police Department.

His testimony is expected to continue on Thursday.

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fresno, fresno county, local, gene haagenson
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