GARDENA (CBS) — A 24-year-old man facing felony charges for allegedly resisting arrest is accusing Gardena police officers of assaulting him.
Perry Alexander, who was in court Wednesday, claims he was brutalized by police.
Police approached Alexander when he was double-parked and chatting on his cell phone in front of his girlfriend’s apartment at 3 a.m. on March 16. He didn’t have his driver’s license on him, so officers asked him to pull over and exit his vehicle.
Some of the incident was caught on tape by the apartment complex’s security cameras.
“He punched me two times in my face, very, very hard,” Perry told CBS2’s Serene Branson. “And then from there, he placed my hands behind my back and threw me on his police car.”
“To this day, I still don’t know why they did what they did,” he added. “I mean, I cooperated and did everything they asked me to do.”
Alexander says he and an officer fell to the ground after he was punched in the face. He and his girlfriend, Derenique Burt, claim that the assault didn’t stop there.
“After the handcuffs were placed on him, the officers continued to hit him after that,” Burt said.
Photos taken when Alexander was hospitalized after the incident show bruising on his face, as well as an eye injury.
“I really believe that instead of charging Perry Alexander, they should be charging the officers,” defense attorney Alison Triessl told CBS2.
The police department says Alexander was both combative and non-compliant and doesn’t deny that force was used during his arrest.
“I warned Alexander verbally that was I going to ‘sock him in the face’ if he didn’t put his hands behind his back. Alexander made no attempt to comply. I delivered two short jab punches with my left first to the right side of Alexander’s face,” an officer wrote on the initial arrest report.
The department also points to the district attorney’s filing of two felony counts against Alexander for resisting arrest.
“We believe that our officers acted appropriately given the actions of Mr. Alexander and we expect that the criminal case will result in Mr. Alexander being held responsible for his actions,” Chief of Police Edward Medrano said.
If the city rejects the defense’s claim. Alexander is free on his own recognizance. A preliminary hearing has been set for Nov. 9. His attorneys say they are pursuing a civil lawsuit.