Santa Paula, Calif. – A subject was arrested during a domestic violence investigation for resisting, delaying and obstructing a peace officer. The subject matched the description of a domestic violence suspect, but after further investigation, it was determined he was not involved.
On Saturday, April 15, 2023, at around 10:35 p.m., officers responded to a domestic disturbance call in the 400 block of Ojai Rd. Upon officers’ arrival, the male suspect was not there and a description was provided to officers on patrol. A subject matching the description was observed in the 400 block of Ojai Road, about 200 feet from where the domestic violence incident occurred.
An officer contacted the subject, who was later identified as Robert Bennett of Santa Paula. Mr. Bennett did not obey verbal commands to stop. The officer attempted to explain the reason for stopping him, but Mr. Bennett became uncooperative and resisted physically. Other officers arrived and attempted to place him in handcuffs. However, Mr. Bennett continued to physically resist, and he berated and threatened the officers.
Mr. Bennett was detained and later arrested for California Penal Code section 148(a), willfully resisting, delaying, or obstructing a peace officer. Although he matched the description of the domestic violence suspect, it was determined he was not the suspect. Mr. Bennett was transported to the police station where he requested medical attention for symptoms he stated he was experiencing. Officers summoned an ambulance immediately and provided care for him until the ambulance arrived. He was later transported by ambulance to Santa Paula Hospital for examination. Mr. Bennett was later released on a misdemeanor citation.
A social media post was made online in reference to the contact with Mr. Bennett, alleging unsubstantiated actions by the officers. All officers involved in the incident recorded their interactions with Mr. Bennett on body worn camera. A use of force and administrative review was conducted on the incident. The reviews determined:
• Officers clearly communicated to Mr. Bennett and family members their reasons for the detention and subsequent arrest
• The officers used de-escalation techniques to avoid utilizing additional force options
• The officers only used physical control holds to place him under arrest
• The officers’ actions were conducted within policy
• After reviewing the recordings, it is clear the officers were acting professionally and appropriately, despite Mr. Bennett’s verbal confrontations and threats
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