Cathedral City releases bodycam footage of former police chief’s altercation with teen

(YouTube / Cathedral City Police)

After six months of requests from local media, the Cathedral City Police Department posted a video on its YouTube page on Tuesday that shows former Police Chief Travis Walker in a physical confrontation with a teenage suspect.

“We put it on there as a courtesy because it was being requested by several media outlets,” acting police Chief Anthony Yoakum told the Desert Sun. He added, “The video speaks for itself.”

The video is from January 10. Walker can be seen taking a handcuffed suspect out of the back of a patrol vehicle when a scuffle occurs. Walker then be seen taking the 18-year-old, identified as Axel Ignacio Perez-Ibarra, to the ground.

In July, Perez-Ibarra told the Desert Sun that after he was handcuffed and put in the back of the car, he was choked by Walker until he lost consciousness. He claimed he was taken to the hospital after and that his injuries were photographed.

Walker is no longer with the city after being placed on administrative leave on May 2 for unspecified personnel issues. Cathedral City announced on November 19 that Walker was no longer an employee of the department amid a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Perez-Ibarra was accused in the criminal complaint of “willfully and unlawfully attempt(ing) … by means of threats and violence to deter and prevent” responding police officers from “performing a duty.” He is also accused of resisting arrest and committing a “willfully and unlawfully use (of) force and violence upon the person of Miguel C.”

In a July plea agreement with the court, Perez-Ibarra admitted guilt to all charges and was ordered him to enter a Youth Treatment and Education Center program. After, he would  be released into Juvenile Hall custody.

Perez-Ibarra is scheduled to be sentenced in September, 2020.

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