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Marcel Cox-Harshaw, 27, was cited by Carlsbad Police officers for resisting arrest. Courtesy photo
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Carlsbad police officers seen on video tasing unarmed black male

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. Please see the video below.

CARLSBAD — A cellphone video has surfaced on social media earlier today depicting two Carlsbad police officers tase an unarmed black male multiple times before detaining him on Thursday evening in Carlsbad.

The video was taken by Joseph Cox, a local man who noticed the events unfolding at approximately 8:48 pm on a sidewalk near the intersection of Ponto Road and Carlsbad Boulevard.

In the video, two police officers are seen physically restraining a man on the ground as he repeatedly says, “This is what you stand for… you want equality… this is what you stand for.”

The man, later identified as Marcel Cox-Harshaw, 27, of San Diego, was cited for resisting arrest and released to Scripps Encinitas where he received medical attention.

Carlsbad Police’s report indicated that drugs and or alcohol played a role in the incident, describing Harshaw’s mental state as one of “extreme agitation and excited delirium.”

The City of Carlsbad published a timeline of the incident on its webpage and will be releasing body camera footage on June 12, in addition to more details about the incident.

Lt. Greg White of the Carlsbad Police spoke to the Coast News, reviewing the timeline of events.

At 8:48 p.m.,  a caller reported a man face down on Ponto Road and Carlsbad Boulevard resulting in the Carlsbad Fire Department personnel to arrive within 7 minutes. Fire Department EMTs evaluated the man as two Carlsbad Police officers arrived on the situation.

According to White, while paramedics continued to evaluate the man, he became “visually and verbally agitated and aggressive towards the Fire Department.”

At 8:59 p.m., police officers stepped in, fearing for the safety of the paramedics.

“Officers reached out to the man and told him to stop,” the City of Carlsbad website states. “The man yelled, struggled, turned and pulled from the officers and would not comply with their instructions.”

At 9:02 the officers tasered Harshaw multiple times in an attempt to subdue him.

At 9:03 the officers restrained Harshaw by holding his body and head to the ground while placing him in handcuffs.

At 9:07 paramedics transported Harshaw to Scripps Encinitas where according to Lt. White he was “heavily sedated.”

Joseph Cox exited his vehicle when he saw two police officers had pinned and tased Harshaw while he was on the ground.

“I heard screaming through my window and I stopped my truck and jumped out… turned on my video camera and ran to the scene. It was very upsetting… it really struck a deep chord,” Cox told Coast News. “[When] I turned off the video, I said [to him] ‘Good luck. Good luck, my friend. We’ve got your back.”

According to Lt. White, Carlsbad Police supervisors began reviewing footage immediately after the incident stating, “in an effort for full transparency, we are going to release the body camera footage from the officers’ points of view from start to finish and it will show that the force used was the least they could’ve used to facilitate the arrest.”

The Carlsbad Police Department adopted all eight policies recommended by Campaign Zero’s “Eight Can’t Wait” initiative on June 4, which is part of a national movement to prevent excessive use of force by police.

The eight policies include requiring de-escalation tactics, issuing a warning before shooting, exhausting all alternatives before shooting, banning shooting at moving vehicles, restricting severe types of force to extreme situations, comprehensive reporting and requiring officers to intervene and stop excessive force.


Jay June 18, 2020 at 7:57 pm

From what I see in the video is a man who did not make any aggressive physical actions towards the EMTs or the police. Therefore all options for de escalation were not utilized. I do not hear any mental health protocol being utilized. The man may have been unable to comply with instructions due to mental or physical disability or being impaired due to a substance. The police have a training manual for de escalating these types of situations, and if you read that manual, available on the Carlsbad police website, you will see that in no time or way was this protocol used in this encounter, prior to the Officers using physical force against him. The man watching and videoing was quoted as having been emotionally upset by the Police conduct and offered support to the man after he had been tazed multiple times.

Rusty June 15, 2020 at 11:31 am

Poor cops. Not only do they have to deal with lunatics on the streets but then be subjected to nonsense headlines like this in the days and weeks that follow.

They should have ticketed the guy filming for leaving his car in the middle of the intersection.

Mod June 14, 2020 at 7:59 pm

This title while accurate is being used to condemn the use of less than lethal application of Force( taser) against a violent individual or subject threatening violence. Which is what the taser was designed for! If the subject was armed, a lethal force option would have been reasonable and likely more appropriate. Please research the parameters and department policy of the taser before creating clickbait headlines.

eric s anderson June 14, 2020 at 5:58 pm

Unarmed people are exactly who tasers were designed to be used against. The headline is the same as SCUBA diver enters water wearing air tanks.

concerned June 14, 2020 at 10:19 am

After watching the video, the question is why wasn’t the man evaluated longer than just a short while. He seemed to have very serious problems that could lead to harm to himself or others.

Ryan June 13, 2020 at 9:57 am

The phrase “unarmed” gets thrown around like it means the same things as compliant. Seems to me like the cops responded appropriately and used non lethal force on a noncompliant individual to ensure the safety of multiple individuals (EMT’s, firefighters). He was even heavily sedated at the hospital. Seems to me like he was very hostile and aggrivated for them to do that. Guess thats doctors using excessive force though, right…

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