LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An investigation is underway Tuesday after video surfaced on social media, showing an LAPD officer repeatedly punching a trespassing suspect.
The altercation happened April 27 after two officers responded to a report of a trespasser in the 2400 block of Houston Street. The responding officers made contact with the suspect and directed him to leave the private property, police said.
At some point, a “physical altercation occurred between the suspect and one of the officers,” according an LAPD statement released Monday. The officer received minor injuries to his hand, while the suspect had scrapes to his head and face, but he refused medical attention.
— David Mash (@davidamash) May 5, 2020
In the video, the two officers were standing behind the suspect, whose hands were behind his back and his legs spread as they were apparently preparing to handcuff him. Suddenly one of the officers appears to punch the suspect in the head, then continues to punch him as the suspect holds on to the gate of a church. The second officer hangs back and appears to be calling for backup.
An LAPD supervisor was sent to the scene and initiated a preliminary investigation, making contact with a member of the community who showed the supervisor cell phone video of the altercation. After taking a look at the cell phone video and the involved officer’s body-worn video, the investigation was passed up the chain to the department’s Internal Affairs Group.
The exact nature of the force was not specified, but the LAPD says its Internal Affairs group has initiatives a formal complaint investigation due to the “serious nature of the alleged misconduct.” The incident will also be investigated by the LAPD’s force Investigation Division.
The officer has not been identified. The LAPD says the trespassing suspect has been released pending further investigation.