For release on October 27, 2021
Deputy District Attorney
Public and Law Enforcement Integrity Unit
San Jose Officer Charged with Punching Woman in Face During Road Rage Incident
A San Jose police officer has been charged with felony assault, after punching the female passenger of another vehicle in the face during a road rage incident.
The officer – who was off-duty at the time – called police to help during the incident on I-680. Then, after he identified himself as a police officer and assaulted the female passenger of the other car – drove away before officers arrived.
George Brown, 37, faces charges of felony assault under the color of authority, misdemeanor battery, and misdemeanor child endangerment when he is arraigned at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. He could face incarceration, if convicted. A passenger in Brown’s car, Erik Brunner, of Redwood City, was also charged with battery, a misdemeanor.
“It is disappointing that an officer - on or off duty - would act in such a reckless and violent way,” DA Jeff Rosen said. “A higher standard of behavior is not a suggestion or a request. It is built into the badge.”
Around 8 p.m., on July 24, 2021, Officer Brown was off duty, driving in his Ford Explorer with an acquaintance and family members, including a young child, when he was involved in a near collision with a Ford Flex. The Flex was driven by an adult male, his wife was in the front passenger seat, and their teenage daughter was seated in the back. As the two vehicles pulled onto I-280, both drivers accelerated and braked in an aggressive manner. At one point the woman passenger in the Flex threw a plastic bottle that hit Brown’s Explorer. Brown was on the phone and mouthed to the male driving the Flex to “pull over,” and the male pulled onto the shoulder of I-680. Brown pulled his Explorer about a car length behind on the driver’s side of the Flex, blocking the lane of freeway traffic.
Brown called SJPD dispatch and requested “Code 3” assistance, usually used in emergencies. After the male and his wife exited the Flex, Brown and his front passenger also exited. Brown identified himself as an SJPD officer, and then without provocation the 220-pound officer punched the 5-foot-3-inch woman in the face, knocking her to the ground. When she attempted to stand back up, Brown punched her again. Meanwhile, Brunner fought the male passenger – a fight Brown joined after knocking the female to the ground a second time. Eventually, everyone reentered their vehicles and left the scene before responding police units arrived. A passing motorist in a Tesla equipped with video cameras on the front, side, and back of the vehicle reported the incident to 911 and provided the recordings of the incident to investigators.
After returning to her home, the injured woman went to the hospital and reported that she had been assaulted. That triggered notification to the police. The incident was also partially captured on a witness’s cellphone. The videos are not being released to protect the privacy of the victims.