MURRIETA (CBSLA.com) — The family of a man who was beaten during an arrest says they plan to sue the Murrieta Police Department.
Alejendro Rojo, 22, of Murrieta was arrested at a CVS drug store on Hancock Avenue in Murrieta Tuesday night. Police were responding to a disturbance call when they say Rojo became combative, and tried to grab an officer’s gun.
A fight between Rojo and two Murrieta police officers was recorded on video. Part of the struggle takes part inside the store, while the other part is outside. The video is being closely scrutinized by police and the Rojo family. It appears to show Rojo being kicked between the legs, and hit in the face repeatedly. The officers used a baton to strike Rojo. A woman recording the video can be heard saying “Oh my gosh stop beating him!”
Murrieta police are defending their actions. In a statement, police said Rojo was under the influence of drugs, and that he tried to grab an officer’s gun when he was pinned to the ground. According to police, that’s why the officers kept hitting Rojo. An officer broke a bone in his hand during the confrontation, police said.
“They can make what they want out of it, or they can try to change the story as much as they want but the truth is on the video,” said Minu Rojo, Alejandro Rojo’s mother.
“That’s not serving and protecting,” Rojo’s sister said. “That’s hurting and abusing.”
“He’s not a bad kid. I didn’t raise my kid to be like that,” Rojo’s father said.
Rojo was taken to jail, released, then taken to a hospital by his family. Thursday afternoon, he was recovering at home. The family said he has no broken bones, but many bruises.
“He just had abrasions on his face, just swelling,” said Rojo family friend Laura Warfield.
Murrieta police have not announced what, if any, charges Rojo may face.