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Tucson Police Department: Officer arrested after striking handcuffed man
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Tucson Police Department: Officer arrested after striking handcuffed man

William Gallego

A Tucson police officer has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault after the department says body cam footage shows him hitting a handcuffed man.

Officer William Gallego was arrested Sunday after an internal criminal investigation reviewing body camera footage. It shows he intentionally hit a handcuffed man's head with his shin during an arrest Thursday night, the Tucson Police Department said in a news release Sunday.

Officers were sent to the Roy Laos Transit Center, 205 W. Irvington Road, about 7:20 p.m. Thursday for a fight that reportedly involved several people, police said. The fight was over by the time officers arrived at the center and security officers there told police the people involved in the brawl had left, the news release said.

About an hour later, officers returned to the transit center after a report that a person who had been involved in the fight had returned. A security guard at the transit center told officers he wanted the man arrested for trespassing, police said.

"After officers put handcuffs on the suspect, he became uncooperative and started to resist," police said in the news release. "The officers tried rolling the suspect on to his side, but he began yelling, kicking his feet and refused to give officers his name."

Gallego was one of the officers on scene. He recognized the handcuffed man and called him by name, police said. The man then spit on Gallego's pant leg, police said.

Gallego then placed his boot on the back of the man's head. He walked to his car to get a restraint device, police said. The news release did not specify what kind of restraint device Gallego retrieved.

Gallego walked past the man's head striking him twice in the head with his shin, police said. Officers restrained the man's legs and carried him to their patrol car. The man was booked into Pima County jail on Thursday on suspicion of trespassing.

On Friday, Gallego's supervisor reviewed the officer's body-worn camera footage and notified his chain of command to also review the footage. After an internal investigation, detectives found there was probable cause to arrest Gallego.

Gallego faces one count of aggravated assault, police said. Gallego has since been released from jail.

Gallego, a 16-year veteran with the department, resigned before being booked into Pima County jail.

Contact reporter Stephanie Casanova at scasanova@tucson.com. On Twitter: @CasanovaReports

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