SOUTH GATE (CBSLA.com) — A group of South Gate police officers are being accused of punching and beating a man during an arrest that was caught on video, but it remains unclear whether excessive force was used.
The video was captured from inside a South Gate home and appears to show the arrest of 35-year-old Alejandro Jimenez after police were called by family members concerned for their safety. Jimenez had been ordered by the court not to come to the location.
In the video, three officers are seen attempting to handcuff Jimenez before more officers join in.
“It looks unpleasant when you see a video like that,” Chief Randy Davis of the South Gate Police Department said. “But the understanding is the officers are out there for the sole reason of taking that person into custody.”
Davis says Jimenez was high on methamphetamine at the time of his arrest and that he is a known gang member with an extensive criminal history.
Davis says, on this afternoon, Jimenez was determined to not be taken into custody. He adds that, at one point, Jimenez bit one of the officers before he was finally subdued.
“We’re dealing with an obviously blatantly violent and combative person,” Davis said.
But does the video show the officers using excessive force?
“I think they had to use what force was necessary to overcome the resistance,” said retired LAPD Commander Sergio Robleto.
But Attorney John Burton, who specializes in police misconduct cases, offers a different point of view.
“They’re obviously dispensing punishment with their nightsticks and that’s wrong. That’s prohibited. That’s a denial of due process,” he said. “Punishment is for the criminal courts and the system, not for officers to dispense in someone’s backyard.”
Davis says the incident is under investigation and it’s premature for his department to decide whether the arrest was in or out of policy.
“What I will say is this: in looking at the video, it’s very, very apparent that the officers were met with very violent resistance from the suspect,” Davis said.
Police say Jimenez was taken to the hospital that afternoon where he was treated and released for bruises and abrasions. There were no broken bones.
Jimenez remains in county jail on charges of resisting arrest.