LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Two Los Angeles police officers were under investigation Thursday for unrelated incidents of alleged misconduct involving assaults on people in custody, according to reports.
LAPD officials say a male officer was caught on camera punching and kicking a female suspect inside a holding cell at the LAPD Van Nuys station in February or March, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The unidentified officer delivered multiple kicks and punches until other officers entered the holding cell, according to the official. It was not immediately known whether the woman required medical attention afterward or why she was in custody.
Station supervisors were “promptly” notified of the incident and launched an internal investigation, as is done when any officer uses force on a suspect, the official said.
The investigation comes just one day after LAPD Officer Jonathan Lai pleaded not guilty to beating a man with his baton while taking him into custody outside a restaurant near Staples Center.
A district attorney’s statement says the 30-year-old Lai entered the plea Wednesday to one count of assault by a police officer and one of assault with a deadly weapon.
Prosecutors say Lai – a six-year veteran – and his partner were on patrol in April 2012 when they approached the man who was standing alone outside the restaurant. The restaurant’s security video shows Lai repeatedly using his baton to hit the man while the man was on his knees and holding his hands on his head.
In response to the investigation, Chief Charlie Beck issued the following statement: “I am always concerned when an officer is accused of violating the public’s trust and we will continue to work closely with the District Attorney’s Office and the Department’s Office of Inspector General to take appropriate action and work to prevent these types of incidents in the future.”
Lai’s bail was set at $35,000. He’s scheduled to return to court in August. If convicted he could get four years in prison.
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