Man Convicted Of Punching San Diego Cop Died While In Custody

The medical examiner’s office confirmed they had the body of Frederick Jefferson, 39, but they would not reveal when or how he died.

Jefferson was sentenced Friday for punching a San Diego police officer in the face after officers grabbed him, ripped his shirt, and hit him with a baton because he was walking in the road.

He was sentenced to 7 years in prison for one count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and two counts of resisting an executive officer, reported NBC San Diego.

The video below was compiled by NBC San Diego from an attorney presentation of body camera footage. It shows officers confronting Jefferson, who is walking down the middle of Logan Avenue, just a block away from a protest in Chicano Park.

Officers ordered Jefferson to get on the sidewalk, but he refused. Then, an officer grabbed Jefferson, and he pushed back.

Jefferson’s shirt was ripped by officers as he threw a few punches that missed while trying to fight off the officers.

Officer Matthew Ruggiero hit Jefferson with a baton, and Jefferson defended himself by punching the officer in the face.

Several more officers showed up and they wrestled Jefferson to the ground.  At the end of the video, blood can be seen on the concrete near Jefferson’s head.

Police allege the blood was Ruggiero’s, and it just happened to be right where Jefferson’s head was located.

Although Jefferson only appeared to connect with 1 punch, police say Ruggiero suffered a broken nose, jaw and other facial fractures.

Jefferson’s public defense attorney argued that his client was only reacting to police grabbing him while was simply walking.

The officer who recorded the video on body camera said officers were concerned because the color of Jefferson’s clothing was similar to colors worn by some nearby protesters. Some of the people wearing similar colors were allegedly violent.

“He had not been patted down, he hadn’t been checked for weapons, we had previously found weapons on other members attending the protest. So my safety and officer Ruggiero’s safety was the primary concern at this point,” the officer said.