H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Oct 19, 2012 9:01 PM by Kelly Orsini, KSBY News

Police defend actions in arrest of man at local homeless shelter

San Luis Obispo Police are defending the arrest of a man near the Maxine Lewis Homeless shelter Thursday night after a video posted to Youtube claimed officers used excessive force.

Police say Richard Kirenga, 33, was suspended from the shelter property for 150 days on Tuesday after employees say he acted agressively towards other clients. Thursday, officers arrested Kirenga after they say he was found tresspassing on the shelter property.

The Youtube video claims officers used excessive force, but police say Kirenga is considered a safety risk to officers because he is known to carry rocks and other blunt objects in his pockets to use as weapons against officers. Police say he violently assaulted an officer in Santa Barbara in 2008 and has been charged with resisting arrest on multiple occasions.

San Luis Obispo Police say in the Thursday incident, Kirenga had refused to remove his hands from his pockets and that officers placed him on the ground in an effort to safely handcuff him. Police say Kirenga continued to struggle with the two officers and that it wasn't until a third officer arrived that Kirenga was handcuffed. Police say they found two large, jagged rocks and a corkscrew in Kirenga's pockets.

Kirenga had two outstanding warrants for his arrest. He was booked into jail and has since been released on bail.

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