Dramatic cell phone pictures and surveillance video obtained by News 2 of a man’s weekend fight with several La Vergne police officers has sparked at least two investigations.
Mario Ticas, the man in the video, told News 2 he believes he complied with officers’ orders after they were called to break up a separate fight at his Highway 41 apartment building, but then Ticas says he became the victim of “excessive force” as he was punched by the officers and bitten by their police dog.
When asked if it was “excessive force,” La Vergne Police Chief Mike Walker told News 2 he could not say yet.
“I don’t know,” he said, adding, “I don’t know what precipitated everything. We’ll look at everything from beginning to end. We believe there is other video out there.”
It was a reference to video from the officers’ cars, surveillance video from the apartment building and cell phone pictures other than the one obtained by News 2.
Chief Walker said he has informed local District Attorney William Whitesell of the incident which left Ticas charged with assault and public drunkenness, but not resisting arrest.
“We will have someone else looking over our shoulders,” added Chief Walker. “I don’t cover stuff up.”
Ticas, who made bond on the weekend charges, spoke to News 2 Tuesday as he returned to his job working with concrete at a Nashville construction site.
“I [have to] come to work, whether it hurts or not,” Ticas said as he showed a series of bruises, bumps and bites on his upper body. “It’s pretty bad.”
Ticas said he was trying to break up the disturbance involving some neighbors when he found himself in the middle of a chaotic scene just before Midnight Saturday.
“I was trying to stop them and the next thing you know, the cops are all over the place and I grabbed my dog to put her inside, and stepped back out and I got guns in my face,” Ticas told News 2. “The next thing you know, I am on the floor getting beat up.
Chief Walker said the La Vergne officers that were part of the incident remain on their normal duties.
“I can’t make a call yet what happened. We need time,” added the chief.
The cell phone video was captured by a cousin of Ticas named Cindy Martinez, who told News 2 that she “missed only about 30 seconds of the fight.”
The apartment surveillance video is believed to show the entire incident that led to Ticas’ arrest.
Anetra Griffin lives in the same apartment complex and said she was there when police showed up.
“I guess why police came here is because of the argument between me and my dad,” Griffin said.
She said Ticas was trying to diffuse the situation but then somehow became the target.
“They came with the wrong attitude, real aggressive,” said Griffin.
Along with bruises from the fight, Ticas showed where he said the police K9 bit him around the head and on the ear.
Chief Walker said Ticas also bit the police dog.
“He admitted to it,” pointed out the chief.
Martinez, who took the cell phone video, told News 2 Ticas bit the dog after being bit first.
“That’s because the canine’s partner was one of the guys he was fighting with,” responded the chief.
Ticas indicated that he is consulting with a lawyer about the incident.
Several members at the construction site where Ticas was employed came up to News 2 to say he was a “good employee.”
Chief Walker would not put a timetable on his investigation.
Ticas told News 2 he had been in trouble before on marijuana and drunkenness charges, which led to “about a year” of incarceration in the Rutherford County jail.
News 2 also learned of a series of convictions for Ticas when he lived in the Owatonna, Minnesota area. They ranged from theft to assault involving a police officer.