Video shows Cal Poly police scuffle with suspect in assault arrest

Plainclothes Cal Poly police officers arrested a 21-year-old San Luis Obispo man on suspicion of assaulting an officer Friday night outside a liquor store on Foothill Boulevard while an onlooker recorded a profanity-filled video of the incident that he later posted to Facebook.

Aidan James Dugan-Culton was arrested on suspicion of felony assault on an officer and misdemeanor theft of a bottle of wine about 8:15 p.m. Friday, after three campus officers physically restrained him on the ground while he was handcuffed, according to the video posted on a Facebook page under the name of Julian Trevizo. Trevizo apparently took the video and also posted a narrative of his view of the incident.

Trevizo did not respond to email and Facebook message requests for comment. The Tribune contacted Dugan-Culton’s mother, who said she and her son were declining comment on the advice of a lawyer. Dugan-Culton also responded and declined comment.

On his Facebook page, Trevizo accused a Cal Poly police officer of using an illegal chokehold on Dugan-Culton. A Cal Poly spokesman said the officers “were required to safely subdue” Dugan-Culton after he allegedly shoved one of them and failed to comply with their directions.

The nine-minute video begins with Dugan-Culton already on the ground and struggling as three police officers hold him down, one with his arm around Dugan-Culton’s neck and the other two holding his legs. One officer identifies himself, saying, “I’m a police officer, you’re under arrest,” followed by an unseen bystander yelling, “You can’t assault people without identifying yourself!”

About 20 seconds into the video, Dugan-Culton can be heard saying, “get off me,” as he is handcuffed and bystander voices yell in protest.

Dugan-Culton is rolled over, and in response to an inaudible comment from an officer, he yells, “Because I said, f--- you?” He continues, “I didn’t touch you, I said f--- you, and then you pushed me and you tackled me to the ground.”

As the officers sit him up and two move away, Dugan-Culton asks to have his glasses picked up off the ground and put on his face, while a bystander says to the officer, “no, you won’t because you don’t give a sh--, do you?”

Dugan-Culton continues to yell profanities at the officer at his side, who puts Dugan-Culton’s glasses on him. An unseen bystander sarcastically praises the officer for “being a human being.” Over the next several minutes, one voice is heard reassuring Dugan-Culton, “it’s going to be OK.”

After about five minutes, an officer helps Dugan-Culton, who remains handcuffed, to his feet as a uniformed officer arrives. The officers inspect Dugan-Culton, with one noting that he has scrapes and a bloody nose. Much of the conversation between officers and Dugan-Culton isn’t audible.

More than seven minutes into the video, Dugan-Culton is put in the police car as several bystanders yell at the officers.

Dugan-Culton was booked into San Luis Obsipo County Jail but was no longer in custody Saturday evening, according to the jail website.

Since July 2015, Cal Poly police and the city of San Luis Obispo have had a memorandum of understanding that allows university police to enforce city laws within a 1-mile radius of campus.

Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier said in an email Saturday that university police frequently patrol areas near campus on weekends to enforce laws related to underage drinking and furnishing alcohol to minors.

That’s what the three officers were doing Friday night when they saw a group that they believed appeared underage carrying alcohol near the Foothill Boulevard liquor store, Lazier said.

“To ensure that no theft had occurred and that no minors had been allowed to purchase or obtain alcohol, officers identified themselves as police, stopped the group and asked for IDs,” Lazier said.

“While officers were checking the IDs, one member of the group, later identified as Dugan-Culton, became belligerent and shoved an officer. When that officer informed Dugan-Culton that he was under arrest for assault, Dugan-Culton began to resist.

“Because he had already shoved an officer and was failing to comply, Dugan-Culton was restrained, and ultimately three officers were required to safely subdue him and place him in handcuffs,” Lazier said. “UPD is reviewing the incident to ensure that all actions and practices were in accordance with department procedures.”

Lazier said one officer suffered a minor knee injury and Dugan-Culton had minor abrasions in the incident.

Staff writers Andrew Sheeler and Gabby Ferreira contributed to this story.

Janet Lavelle: 805-781-7931, @janet_lavelle