A Taft man is claiming that a Taft police officer ran over his legs with his police vehicle early Tuesday morning.
We have made several attempts to contact Taft Police Chief John Cornish for this story, but he has not returned our call.
We want to ask him about the incident that led to Frankie Castro’s legs looking bruised and battered. Castro knows what happened.
"And all of a sudden, from my blind side, I see that Tahoe, that cop coming about 40-50 miles an hour down this road right here."
Castro says he was at a friend’s house, about a block away, around 3:30 Tuesday morning, when police showed up, saying they had a warrant for his arrest.
He admits he knew about the warrant. Claims it was unpaid traffic tickets.
Castro and his family identified the Taft police officer who handcuffed him as police Sergeant Desmond Whitson.
"They always wanna pick on me," Castro told us. "Especially that one cop that ran over me. He had it out for me."
Castro continued his story.
He says he told Whitson he wanted to let his mom know what had happened so she wouldn’t worry about him.
He started running down Ash Street toward his house, about a block away.
So Whitson jumped in his police cruiser and gave chase.
"And there’s witnesses at the house that he was at, that actually testified to the fact he gunned it full speed. He’s doing 40-50 miles comin’ thru there when he hit here and went airborne," Castro’s attorney Sid Arismendez said.
Arismendez pointed to the tire tracks in the front yard next door to Castro’s house, where Raymond Hernandez lives.
Hernandez remembers hearing 2 crashes. Then he went outside and saw a man on the ground.
"What did the man on the ground look like? Like he was hurting. He was in distress. Was he screaming? Was he yelling? Yes."
Castro continued. "All of a sudden, I just see the frickin’ suburban in the air, and I was like this. And I ended up moving back or else he would have run over my whole body."
On the ground. In pain. And handcuffed, Castro recounted what happened next.
"He comes out of his police car around the corner and pulls out a gun on me."
"This is deadly force," says attorney Arismendez. "This is using a Tahoe as an instrument. It was not needed. It was not justified."
Castro was taken to emergency care, but told his injuries weren’t as bad as they look.
At this point, we don’t know if any disciplinary action has been, or will be taken against Sgt. Whitson.
Or why, if there was a warrant out for Castro’s arrest, he wasn’t taken into custody after treatment.
As we mentioned earlier, we have made several attempts to contact Taft Police Chief John Cornish, but have not heard back from him.
As soon as we do, we’ll share it with you.