ANAHEIM (CBSLA) – A 35-year-old homeless man with an extensive criminal history sustained serious injuries during an arrest by Anaheim police last week during which he lost consciousness and went into cardiac arrest.
Christopher Eisinger struggled "violently" with officers in the early morning hours of March 2 in the 3000 block of West Ball Road after they responded to reports of a suspicious man in a residential neighborhood, Anaheim police reported Wednesday.
Police later determined that Eisinger had attempted to break into at least one home and several vehicles in the area. At the time of his arrest, he was also in possession of narcotics paraphernalia and was believed to be under the influence of drugs.
Eisinger has several prior convictions for domestic violence, resisting arrest, threatening an officer, battery on an officer and narcotics violations, police confirmed.
Just after midnight last Friday, officers spotted Eisinger in the 13000 block of South East Gates Street and gave chase, police said. He fell while trying to run away, and when they reached him, he became aggressive as they tried to take him into custody, "violently kicking and ripping his arms away" from officers, according to police.
The officers used control holds to subdue and handcuff him, at which point he lost consciousness. When paramedics arrived on scene, he went into cardiac arrest, police said.
The Anaheim Police maintains excessive force was not used to subdue Eisinger.
"The preliminary interview shows the officers did not employ a carotid restraint, did not employ impact weapons, did not deploy a taser or deliver any strikes to the suspect," acting Anaheim Police Chief Julian Harvey told reporters at a Thursday press conference.
Eisinger was successfully resuscitated and rushed to a hospital in stable condition. He was being treated at the hospital for brain swelling and facial injuries, police disclosed. Police are unsure how exactly he was hurt. It's unclear what charges he might face upon his release.
The involved officers had their body cameras on throughout the arrest, police said. No shots were fired and no tasers were used.
"Yeah, but if he had that brain injury, he wouldn't have been able to run," Matt Legault, a friend of Eisinger, told CBS2.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office has launched a use-of-force investigation.
Meanwhile, police are investigating an arrest of Eisinger a few weeks prior, but by a different police department, which also required him to go to the hospital. The details of that arrest were not immediately known.
In November, a report from the American Civil Liberties Union found that the number of officer-involved deaths per capita from 2014 to 2016 in Anaheim exceeded those at major police departments such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. From 2003 through 2016, 33 people were killed by on-duty Anaheim police officers according to the report. The ACLU found that nearly 40 percent of the victims were unarmed.
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