Man arrested for resisting arrest on Goleta video

June 13, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 8.15.10 PMA video purportedly showing police brutality in Goleta touches on a second policing trend that is causing concern among some citizens.

Early Thursday morning, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies arrested 22-year-old Keenen Johnson in a motel parking lot. Deputies pursued Johnson initially as a burglary suspect and then as a possibly armed man, but they ended up arresting him for resisting arrest. [KEYT]

Johnson’s wife, Jennifer Johnson, recorded video of the arrest, during which deputies wrestled Keenen Johnson to the ground. Jennifer Johnson published the video on Youtube argues that it shows police brutality.

As with similar videos that have been released in recent months, there also may be a racial undertone. Johnson is black, and it appears the officers are white.

Around 3 a.m., the deputies responded to a report of a burglary in progress at the Extended Stay motel in Goleta. The caller said someone was going in and out of a hotel window near a camper truck.

When deputies arrived, they saw Johnson on top of the RV and a motel room window that appeared to have been tampered with or broken into. The deputies also saw that Johnson had a sheath that may have been covering a weapon, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

Johnson’s wife said her husband was patching up a leak in the RV roof at the time. She also said they had a room in the motel and were having beers by an open window. The couple was sharing the room with coworkers from a motel renovation team, she said.

The deputies grabbed Johnson and said they were checking him for weapons. They then wrestled him and slammed him to the ground, the video shows.

During the encounter, Johnson was saying he did nothing wrong and the deputies were breaking the law. His wife screamed “stop” while filming the incident.

“You don’t legally get to check every single person for no reason,” she said.

The deputies found no weapons. They booked Johnson into jail on charges of felony resisting arrest, KEYT reports.

In recent years, it has become increasingly common for police to arrest individuals solely for charges relating to resisting arrest.

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I love it….scream BRUTALITY and everyone comes running with their cameras. Tabloid journalism at it’s finest.

While it is very plain to see that Mr. Johnson is clearly resisting arrest, perhaps the officers did not convey that they needed to detain him so that they could question him. If they are arresting him for “resisting arrest” doesn’t that sound a bit suspicious to anyone else? Perhaps they had every right to question him, and they wanted to make sure that he did not attack them, possibly with a concealed weapon, so they wanted to put him in handcuffs while he was being detained. By not explaining that to him, and continuing to attempt to subdue him (pretty inefficiently since it took three of them nearly a minute to get him on the ground), then the officers settled on the “resisting arrest” charge.

Poor training, IMO, poor execution; but, I am glad they did not resort to more violent means for the arrest. I really wish more LEOs would learn effective techniques for subduing suspects; my Aikido instructor would have had the guy on the ground in about 3 seconds without breaking a sweat.

Good idea Bobfslo…Give him plenty of time to pull out that weapon, at least LEs family’s can be told they “Reasoned” with him, taking time to “Convey” their point of view and opening it up for debate… just before getting stabbed.

What? Plenty of time? All the officers would have had to do was to plainly, calmly, explain that he was “not under arrest”, but “being detained”, and, for everyone’s safety, the officers would be putting handcuffs on the man while the officers investigated the situation; I really don’t understand how that is such a hard thing to do, why anyone feels that that would “take plenty of time”; using the officers’ command voice, “We are detaining you while we investigate this situation. We are going to handcuff you now, for your own safety, please comply”; does that seem like coddling or deferring of authority to anyone? It seems to me that it would have fit the situation very well, and would have shown that the officers were trying to respect the rights of the man they were going to investigate. Once they then move in to subdue him, and he then starts to resist, use the appropriate amount of force to make him compliant, and then charge him with resisting if he really makes a big deal of trying to fight them.

Doesn’t seem like rocket science to me ….

there was no weapon on his person

its kind of simple, if you don’t want to be arrested for resisting arrest then don’t resist arrest

Standing by for “M Kaney” to chime in with his usual obsessive anti- police rhetoric.

Good prediction, but actually this time bobfromsanluis beat mkaney to it.

Looks like resistance to me when you have 3 policemen trying to subdue someone and they have to use some force to accomplish their job. When there is resistance it requires force to subdue the resistance. In today’s world 1 of 2 things happens. The police officer gets injured or if he overcomes the resistance then he is accused of over reacting and using excessive force. Then if it involves black/white it immediately becomes racial irregardless of what the event was.

Really? CalCoast News now trying to hop on the race baiting bandwagon too? Ya think if he didn’t resist and his whackjob wife didn’t turn into a screaming, babbling idiot maybe they could have got to the bottom of the situation and it all could have ended peacefully?

Does everyone think they have a right to resist detention now? Does everyone

think the thing to do is fight back when the cops are trying to put cuffs on you? Like that’s a good fight to pick?

Do you people have any idea that cops can be searching for a person or a car and stop you and detain you and put cuffs on you and it turns out you’re not the guy they were looking for and the cops did nothing wrong? It’s called a mistake. It happens all the time. They still had reasonable suspicion and are entitled to detain you. You don’t have the right to turn it into a street brawl. If you do, you just went from innocent person to criminal.

Another idiot thinks a street fight might possibly end in his favor. I’m beginning to think people are resisting on purpose to be the next drive-by media celeb. If the police are wrong, your ONLY intelligent recourse is to argue later to a higher authority, not in the field.

Exactly. Just comply because you’ll lose, guaranteed. Let a lawyer do the fighting for you.

And where do you come up with the $$$ for a lawyer …. and getting a public defender is of no value if they just want to cut a deal

That’s a valid issue but doesn’t make it a wise move to fight with the police.

That may be the “smart” way in the short term — particularly if you have the time and the means to do battle in court but not everyone does. How long will you be locked up before you get to court? Will you have enough to make bail? Will your employer fire you because of the arrest or work missed either at the time or later when you go to court? Do you trust the competence of a public defender if you can’t afford a regular attorney? Do you trust that your word will be given equal weight to a cops if your version of events contradicts theirs? Particularly if you are a minority?

When this happens too frequently, low level resistance with all its’ drawbacks may be the only option that makes sense. Otherwise, poorly trained or psychologically misfit cops will continue to engage in this behavior. They must have consequences when they screw up too and spending a day in court is not a consequence they fear.

When this happens too frequently, low level resistance with all its’ drawbacks may be the only option that makes sense.


Are you coming or going? You just named the problems with going to jail–means to do battle in court, losing one’s job, making bail, credibility and then you advocate resisting arrest which will only add another crime to whatever trouble you’re in thereby ensuring more jail, more court, etc. You argue against yourself.

At 3 in the morning, the cops got a call about a burglary–someone going in and out of an open motel window. This guy is on the roof of an RV and is wearing a sheath next to the open window at the motel. 3 a.m! With open alcohol. That’s a recipe for detention every single time.

You are so wrong. Low level resistance is NOT THE ANSWER. How could you even say that? It is against the law, and we don’t hire police officers to run after or do hand to hand combat with people.

Black people are doing themselves (and other Black people) a disservice by resisting police, carrying illegal guns, and fighting the police.

Remember the Black gang member(from San Diego) who after a traffic stop on 101 led the CHP on a high speed chase through the middle of Paso. After he crashed his girlfriends car, he ran. The CHP officer went after him with his stun gun pulled, and the man rose up from a trash dumpster with a gun and shot the officer three times before he could pull his weapon and return fire.

Do you think that the CHP will assume Black men are unarmed in the future and be willing to die for their mistake, or will they chase them with their guns pulled?

We don’t hire police officers so they can die in the line of duty. You are saying that minorities should resist arrest. You are just escalating the situation which will lead to more cop/criminal shooting incidents by empowering the criminal element with the supposed right to physically resist arrest or detainment.

This guy was clearly resisting the officers. Just because some girl says hes not doing anything wrong doesn’t make it so. I think these guys demonstrated pretty good control of them selves, especially when you see some of the other stuff going on in the nation. Johnson didn’t want to make it easy, pretty tough job dealing with folks like this, they can have it.

The video doesn’t show enough and the commentary may be slanted, but if the facts are as given, I agree that the cops were a bit overboard. They should not be able to arrest someone for “resisting arrest” unless they were already attempting to arrest him for another charge and that charge should be the primary charge.

It is hard to say what happened prior to this point in questioning but I do think the cops were right to investigate the situation and check it out. How they went about doing so is what is questionable. It looks like the guy wasn’t causing any fuss other than objecting verbally to what he claims is unwarranted harassment. If this was the case, the cops should have carefully and patiently explained why they were there and what they wanted him to do before getting physical. If he had a credible response, it should have continued as a conversation and a negotiation. Too many cops think that they can’t deal with a person who MIGHT have committed a crime without physical domination. If that was the case here, it needs to end.

Exactly ! How can one ‘resist arrest’ when there is no predicate or underlying crime to be arrested for ?

Inordinate, pre-emptive force / physicality is just an excuse by incompetent or poorly trained cops. The ‘resisting’ charge is their reflexive response that compounds their knee-jerk provocation.

The cops have a right to detain you, and question you to investigate if he was in fact the burglar they received the phone call about! Mr. Johnson immediately resisted! Thus implicating himself as possibly guilty of the crime. OTherwise why not just cooperate? Why not just sit there and let them as their questions? Why fight? The cops did the right thing in arresting him for resisting. Just stupid!! IF he wasn’t guilty of a crime why act like he was by NOT cooperating? The cops had a phone call with description of a possible crime, and this guy fit the bill. They were not just driving around looking to harass someone!

And people wonder why cops are called ‘effing PIGS…!?! Citizens of SB Co. Are going to have to pay for this fiasco…

And what do you call the idiot who refused to cooperate while they investigated a crime? So you think the cops are “eff”Pigs for investigating after receiving the call to come,there is a crime happening?

What if the cops just said NO we won’t come because some idiot wont want to cooperate and we may have to arrest for resisting? NO cops? That’s the world you want to live in?

Watch the video, this guy deserved to be detained and arrested. HE refused to cooperate. Just because his wife got it on video? Good, She proved her husband refused to cooperate, the cops had no choice but to force him down.