Jury sides with costumed Concord police by man who was tackled in traffic stop

CONCORD — After a nine-day trial, a Contra Costa jury found that a Concord police officer was justified in attacking a 64-year-old man during a 2019 traffic stop that resulted in an arrest for driving with resistance and drunkenness, but no criminal charges.

Rex G. Smith, of Concord, sued the city police department and Ofc. Shaun Parsley on the June 2019 incident, which left Smith bloodied and bruised after Parsley crashed to the ground and tasered him twice. The lawsuit alleged that the police violence was unprovoked and resulted from conflicting orders from Parsley.

During the trial, jurors were shown an approximately five-minute video clip from Parsley’s body camera, which shows the incident from the time the two met until Smith was handcuffed, asking him what he had done wrong. The city argued that Parsley’s use of force was justified because Smith failed to obey the officer’s orders, including grabbing his keys when Parsley told him to put both of his hands behind his back.

The lawsuit, filed in July 2020, accused Parsley of beating a “submissive and confused 64-year-old Mr. Smith for no apparent reason other than punishment for seeking clarification of conflicting instructions,” calling the conduct of the “despicable” officer and a violation of his constitutional rights. The lawsuit was filed in Contra Costa Superior Court.

Neither Concord city attorneys nor the city police department responded to repeated requests for comment on the outcome of the lawsuit.

Parsley, a former Marine who has a nearly 10-year career in law enforcement, has never been sued in federal or state court other than in this case, according to court records. He worked at the Brentwood Police Department before moving to Concord four years ago, according to state payroll records.

Body camera video shows Parsley forcing Smith to the ground within 30 seconds of their encounter. Parsley first tells Smith, “Get in your vehicle”, but when Smith balks and asks “Why”, Parsley tells him to get on the ground. When Smith asks what’s going on, Parsley tackles and hits him while Smith asks, “Why are you hitting me, man?”

Parsley then tells Smith to put his hands behind his back, which Smith briefly does. But when he slides his right hand to the side – declaring he wants to put his keys back in his pocket – Parsley yells at him to back it off, then uses a Taser on him. The suit indicates that Parsley used the Taser twice, stunning Smith for nearly 10 seconds.

About a minute later, several officers arrive at Parsley’s request.

“What’s going on man?” we ask.

“I don’t know,” Smith replies, later adding, “I guess I asked but I don’t know what I did.”

Smith was never charged in connection with the incident, according to court records. The lawsuit says he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and resisting arrest, but county prosecutors declined to charge him, citing a lack of sufficient evidence.

Comments are closed.