Sonoma Sheriff releases video of deadly arrest

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- California state law now requires that police agencies release bodycam videos. Sonoma County Sheriff deputies wore such units during a car chase on November 27.

They were trying to pull a suspect from a car they thought had stolen the car he was driving. They did not know that behind the wheel, David Ward, 57, is the rightful owner.

Ward died during the altercation.

On Friday, Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick announced that the incident has cost 20-year deputy Charles Blount his job. "When a deputy or one of our employees steps out of line with our code of conduct, I am going to hold them accountable," he said.

No one knows why Ward led deputies on a chase, and then wouldn't leave his car. The video shows Deputy Blount using what the department describes as an unsafe choke hold and excessive force as he slams Ward into the car's door pillar.

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"In what world would that be appropriate?," asked attorney Izaak Schwaiger. He will represent David Ward's family. "This is a very dangerous individual who should have been off the street a long time ago, ending a man's life."

It will not be the first time that Schwaiger has gone to court over Detective Blount's behavior.

In 2015, he represented a woman who the county charged with jaywalking and resisting arrest. He showed us another video of that incident, where Deputy Blount slams her to the ground.

In that video, she screams in agony.

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It is a pattern of behavior that Schweiger says Blount repeated in the video from November 27. With David Ward on the ground, we see and hear Deputy Blount's reaction when he learns for the first time that in Ward did own the car.

"Oh well," says Detective Blount.

"He says 'Oh well.' And then of course, David dies. Is that the kind of person you want in your community?," asked Schwaiger.

"I find that video to be very disturbing," said Sheriff Essick.

There is no word, yet, whether Deputy Blount will face criminal charges. There is more video from other body cameras that may tell more of the story.

Santa Rosa Police are conducting that investigation.

Attorneys for Deputy Blount did not return calls from ABC7 News on Friday.
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