LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Los Angeles police officer has been charged after an on-duty assault of a 28-year-old man in April, District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Tuesday.
“This is a disturbing case of the illegal use of force at the hands of a police officer,” Lacey said. “In this case, we believe the force was neither legally necessary nor reasonable.”READ MORE: Angelenos Make Plans For Mother's Day During The First Weekend The County Is In The Yellow Tier
Frank Hernandez, 49, was charged with one felony count of assault under color of authority.
“In this case what you saw was the officer punching a man who wasn’t resisting, who appeared to have his hands behind his back or was covering his face at some point numerous times,” Lacey said in a Tuesday interview. “And so that is a case of excessive force.”
Lacey said she was not swayed by the recent swell of public opinion focused on rooting out violent and racist police, but Castillo’s attorney said the charges were brought quicker than normal.
“A lot of times it gets drawn out for many years, and I think the public right now is at a point where they’re no longer willing to accept that as an answer,” Wesley Ouchi, Castillo’s attorney, said.READ MORE: LAPD Trying To Break Up Cypress Park Party Between The 5 And 10 Freeways
According to police, Hernandez and his partner responded to a call of a trespasser in a vacant lot in Boyle Heights on April 27. During a confrontation between Hernandez and the man, Hernandez is accused of illegally striking the man in the head, neck and body more than a dozen times.
In a Tuesday afternoon statement, the LAPD said it was fully cooperating with the D.A.’s office in the investigation and that its own use of force investigation was nearing completion.
“The Department has taken this matter very seriously from day-one and he will be held accountable for his actions,” Moore said.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents more than 9,900 sworn LAPD officers, released a statement Tuesday evening that said:
“While we have a fiduciary responsibility to provide our members with assistance through the internal affairs administrative process, what we saw on that video was unacceptable and is not what we are trained to do.”
Hernandez, who was arrested, has reportedly been with LAPD for more than 20 years and has been involved with three on-duty shootings. He has been stripped of all police powers and has been assigned home. He is expected to be arraigned Thursday.MORE NEWS: Venice High School Unable To Use Its New Multimillion Dollar Stadium Due To A Dispute With A Neighbor
If convicted as charged, Hernandez faces a possible maximum sentence of three years in county jail.