An emotional former Fresno Police officer took the stand Thursday. Chris Coleman testified, in his defense. He started by telling the jury about himself. He said he grew up in Fresno and went to Hoover High. After high school, he worked for an ambulance company. He joined the Fresno Police Department shortly after because he said, he “Liked helping people."
He cried on the stand when his attorney asked him about his son. Coleman said he chose to work the midnight shift because he was able to spend more time with his son and wife. He cried on the stand once again when he talked about his father. Coleman said his father, who just retired from the police force, discouraged him from becoming a police officer because it's, "hard on family life."
Despite that, he said he pursued his police career, and became really good at it, except when it came to writing police reports. He said he struggled with putting reports together and making sure all of the elements were there.
He said he even got suspended shortly before the incident with Rolando Celdon because his police reports weren't up to par. Coleman is facing the most charges from the four former Fresno police officers. He's accused of using excessive force. Prosecutors say back in 2005, he shot at Celdon with a less-than-lethal shotgun and even attempted to hit him with a car. He's also accused of falsifying reports.
Coleman will continue his testimony, Friday morning. The other accused officers, Paul Van Dalen, Michael Manfredi, and Sean Plymale are also expected to take the stand.
If convicted, the officers could face up to 20 years in prison.