New information in excessive force case
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The force used against the suspect, Rolando Celedon, has landed all four current and former officers on trial for excessive force and obstructing justice.
Today, for the first time, we heard an explanation for why the bottle ended up so far away from the scene. It's become significant, because prosecutors allege Officer Sean Plymale planted it at the scene.
Manfredi testified he is embarrassed and feels stupid for kicking a beer bottle at the scene.
Manfredi told the court he is proactive and thorough. But, he said he relied on what he heard from other officers when he filled out a use of force analysis form shortly after the arrest of Rolando Celdon in 2005.
Celdon was arrested on stalking and burglary charges after officers said he broke into his girlfriend's apartment and assaulted her moments earlier.
In the only report Manfredi turned in related to this call he wrote "Celdon picked up a beer bottle and stick and attempted to hit the k-9."
Other officers on trial later retracted that claim completely from their reports.
Manfredi told jurors about what he described as a childish habit he has of kicking things, when he spoke about "launch kicking" a beer bottle at the scene.
K9 officer Sean Plymale is accused of planting the bottle as evidence. Plymale testified earlier this week, he found the bottle near the gate which was more than 100 feet away from the area where the suspect was handcuffed.
Coleman's attorney Paul Goyette said, "Now Sgt. Manfredi has testified he saw the bottle in the immediate vicinity where Mr Celdon was fighting and that Sgt. Manfredi kicked it a significant distance into the darkness. I mean it's an important piece to the puzzle."
Manfredi said Plymale made the comment "good job Sarge, kicking part of the evidence out." Manfredi said he "felt like an idiot."
Manfredi also testified he never saw Officer Paul Van Dalen kick the suspect or step on his ankle. Van Dalen is accused of doing both.
Even though Manfredi says he witnessed Officer Chris Coleman driving his car fast toward the suspect, the sergeant did not believe he was trying to run him over and after scolding Coleman said he felt it was an accident.
Manfredi ended his testimony today. The only officer who has not testified in his own defense is Officer Paul Van Dalen.
His attorney said he has not decided yet whether Van Dalen will be taking the stand.
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