The District Attorney announced Friday, she will not file criminal charges against two Sheriff's deputies, accused by their own department of using excessive force during an arrest.
The decision is the latest in a string of incidents involving law enforcement and is already controversial.
"You can obviously see I was beat repeatedly to where the muscle deteriorated," said Jaime Duran. Whenever 37-year-old Jaime Duran stands up, he's reminded of the beating by two Sheriff's deputies in January.
"I feel they ruined my life. I can't play football. I can't play soccer. I got a lot of post trauma. I can't sleep at night. I walk with a cane," said Duran.
17 News obtained pictures taken during the eleven days Duran spent in the hospital. He considers himself handicapped. "They put a metal pole in my knee to the ankle," he explained.
Duran filed a claim against Kern County in July, saying he was "beat, assaulted, and battered by Sheriff's deputies, without justification."
District Attorney Lisa Green says her office will not file criminal charges against Deputies Aaron Nadal and Asencion Plaza. "Based on our review of the evidence, we don't believe we could convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of either deputy," said Green.
Sheriff's Internal Affairs investigators sent the case to the DA's office, asking for prosecution on charges of excessive force and filing a false report. There is video of the incident taken from a Sheriff's helicopter, but Green and Sheriff Donny Youngblood refuse to release it.
Green says Deputy Plaza was on patrol when he saw Duran standing next to his neighbor's truck. Just then, the truck burst into flames. According to Plaza's report, Duran took off running and hid behind a southeast Bakersfield home, which belongs to his father.
"The yard is a junkyard with a sledgehammer on ground. Plaza orders Duran to come out and show his hands, but Duran does not comply. When he comes out, he moves as if he's going to pick up the sledgehammer," explained Green.
Deputy Plaza said Duran got into a fighting stance. As a Sheriff's helicopter circled overhead, Deputy Nadal arrived.
"Time was of the essence. Deputies did not know the potential threat from people in the house. Second, whether a discussion could have occurred is questionable given the noise from Air 1. Finally, most importantly, Duran had not been searched and neither deputy knew if he was armed," noted Green.
Green said one deputy wrestled Duran to the ground, but Duran refused to obey their orders and resisted being handcuffed. She said the helicopter video shows Deputy Plaza swing his baton at Duran at least eleven times and Nadal punch him in the head.
The whole incident took just minutes. "Law enforcement officers are called upon to make split second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and evolving. Often times, the decision involved the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation," said Green.
"Duran had committed a serious felony, ran from the scene, had not been searched for weapons, and was repeatedly non-compliant. Both Deputy Plaza and Nadal acted reasonably in the amount of force for an arrest," she continued.
Arson charges against Duran were dismissed by the District Attorney's office because the only witness to the fire was Deputy Plaza, who was under investigation by the department. Charges of resisting arrest were also dismissed.
The Sheriff's Department says there is an ongoing internal investigation and Deputies Plaza and Nadal are still employed with the department.