LA VERGNE, Tenn. -
Another voice, police returning to the scene and an official request emerged Wednesday in the investigation of La Vergne police using force during a Saturday night arrest caught by at least two video sources.
Sitting outside the La Vergne apartment building on Highway 41, where the incident occurred, Marlon Anderson told News 2 he was there as police were called to break up a disturbance in the parking lot that eventually led to the arrest of Mario Ticas for assault and public drunkenness.
“I got down, as well as my girlfriend, and Mario got down on his knees and from there as I looked back up, he was getting beat and I don't understand why,” Anderson told News 2.
The two sources capturing video of the incident were a witness’s cellphone and the surveillance camera at the apartment complex.
Wednesday, at least three officers believed to be with La Vergne police, spent at least an hour inside one of the apartments.
The building’s owner told News 2 they were uploading the surveillance video that appears to show Ticas outside his apartment, then putting his dog inside and coming back out when the confrontation starts.
Ticas appears to be go down on his knees pointing at something before one officer rushes him and lands several punches, while another officers stands over them making what looks like a kicking motion.
After a short struggle with the officer on top of him, Ticas breaks free before an officer brings a police dog into the struggle.
Ticas and the dog appear to wrestle for several seconds before the grainy video obtained by News 2 runs out.
On Tuesday while looking at the cellphone video of the same incident, La Vergne police chief Mike Walker told News 2, “You are seeing a piece of the puzzle. We have to put the whole puzzle together.”
The chief said it appeared to be “tail end of the video,” and he wants to know what happened before the pictures were taken.
Wednesday the chief formalized his request for an independent investigation of the incident.
In the letter to local District Attorney William Whitesell, Chief Walker cited “allegations of ‘excessive force’ being used by La Vergne Police Department personnel during the arrest,” and “allegations on social media sites of LPD officers asking ‘witnesses’ to destroy evidence.”
The chief wrote to the district attorney, “As a result of the seriousness of these allegations, I am respectfully requesting you to initiate an investigation by your office in this matter, to alleviate any undue influence or impropriety of LPD personnel.”
District Attorney Whitesell has not commented on the investigation.