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Exclusive: Homeless man hit by police Taser talks about controversial arrest

By John Palminteri, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Senior Reporter,
Published On: Apr 25 2013 07:45:21 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 25 2013 08:49:27 PM CDT

Jerry Cox was shot by Santa Barbara police with a taser gun for trying to get into his own car. Now, Cox talks about the controversial arrest.


A homeless man has detailed, for the first time, the controversial arrest he faced Monday in Santa Barbara when he was hit with a police Taser and fell hard to the sidewalk. Now, NewsChannel 3 learns, no charges will be filed.

Jerry Cox was near his own SUV where he sometimes sleeps at night, and moments after being met by a Santa Barbara police officer, he was stunned by a Taser shot and put into handcuffs. Cox says he was screaming out loud that it was his vehicle, he had the keys, and was not trying to break in.

Face to face with an officer, Cox said he kept repeating, "I got the keys to the car. This is my car. I got a license and this and that," he said.

Cox said the officer told him to get on the ground but he couldn't because he is disabled.  "Even if I wasn't  that ain't the proper procedure to tell someone to sit on the ground if you first meet 'em if you ain't see 'em doing the actual crime," said Cox.

Police officials say they are no longer commenting on the arrest.

This afternoon the District Attorney's office said it would not be filing charges against Cox.

Investigators on Monday said they thought Cox was trying to burglarize a vehicle on Samarkand Drive, and when they contacted him, he did not cooperate.  That's when they used a Taser gun to subdue him.  Several police units came to the scene.  Cox screamed while he was being taken away that the car he was near was his and he could prove it.

Back at his frequent hangout where he asks for financial donations or light work for pay, he said, " I wasn't breaking the law.  You know what I mean.  I was lookin' a little African or whatever, but that shouldn't matter in this new society we live in."

When he was hit by the Taser, Cox said, "it didn't hurt me at first, but when they hit they stick on you and they mash the button and send electricity through here."  Cox also said the Taser hit his chest near his heart where he has a medical condition.

Cox served in the U.S. Navy in 1984 and has also worked in banking and construction.  He has been on hard times for several years and arrived, homeless in Santa Barbara a year ago.

"I'm trying to get my life together man, and trying to do it the honest way," said Cox.

As for an apology or settlement, Cox says he doesn't want this to be a "Rodney King case," but nothing is more serious than our rights being abused when we are in a more civilized country now.

Cox says he would like a new truck, to make up for the embarrassing arrest "and let's get this over and out of the way."  He also says he has spoken to an attorney, but was not able to provide further information on what, if any, legal action might take place.


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