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Carlsbad Community Questions Use Of Force In Man's Arrest

Yusef Miller speaking in front of the Carlsbad Police Department on June 19, 2020, about the use of force in the June 11, 2020, arrest of a man.
Andi Dukleth
Yusef Miller speaking in front of the Carlsbad Police Department on June 19, 2020, about the use of force in the June 11, 2020, arrest of a man.

Community members on Friday are asking questions about the use of force during the arrest of a black man in Carlsbad just over a week ago.

The family thinks officers were too tough when they arrested Marcel Cox-Harshaw, 27, who is Black. Community activists say the Carlsbad Police Department didn't de-escalate the situation.

"It was already volatile when they arrived and they turned it violent," said Yusef Miller, founding member of the North County Civil Liberties Coalition. "This is why we need community input on these kinds of investigations. This is why we need transparency. This is why law enforcement can't investigate themselves because they will always come back exonerated."


The arrest happened June 11 when Carlsbad firefighters and police responded to reports of a man lying on a sidewalk. As police arrived the man became confrontational.

"Are you mocking me?" Cox-Harshaw was seen on police body-worn camera yelling at a firefighter.

"No, I’m not mocking you," the firefighter responded.

Police put on plastic gloves and intervened. Officers attempted to put him in handcuffs triggering a scuffle. The police body cameras were knocked off.

Cox-Harshaw shouted as officers struggle to subdue him. Police used a taser and then a driver stopped and started recording the arrest on his cell phone.


Once handcuffed an officer held Cox-Harshaw’s head to the sidewalk. Eventually, the arresting offices put a spit hood over his head, strapped him to a gurney and took him to the hospital. There, he was given a sedative, cited with resisting arrest and released.

Community activists are calling on the Carlsbad police department to do better. They want to see police de-escalating situations like these.

"All lives matter — Black, white, brown," said Robert Jenkins with North County NAACP. "But when there are senseless killings and injustices of black men disproportionally, Black lives matter."

Carlsbad Police said in an emailed response the department had undergone numerous de-escalation training events and they see it as an important part of their community policing effort.

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