LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Los Angeles police officer who was caught on cell phone video repeatedly striking a trespassing suspect in Boyle Heights this spring was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on a felony charge of assault under color of authority.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Alison Estrada ruled there was sufficient evidence for the case against Frank Hernandez to proceed to trial. The 49-year-old defendant is due back in court Jan. 19.READ MORE: Initiative To Clear Encampment From Venice Boardwalk Brings 191 People Indoors
Hernandez has been accused of repeatedly punching an unarmed man more than a dozen times in the head, neck and body during an April 27 confrontation that was caught on video.
The officer and his partner initially responded to a vacant lot in the 2400 block of Houston Street for reports of a trespasser, according to a May statement from the Los Angeles Police Department. During the investigation, the department said a fight broke out between the alleged trespasser and one of the officers. The officer reportedly sustained a minor hand injury and the man had cuts to his head and face.
“In this case, we believe the force was neither legally necessary or reasonable,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said when Hernandez’ June 9 arrest was announced.READ MORE: LASD Releases Video Of Fatal Shooting Of David Ordaz Jr., Villanueva Says Deputy Suspended Pending Investigation
Hernandez was assigned to home duty and stripped of all police powers as two internal investigations neared completion around the time of his arrest.
Hernandez, who previously pled not guilty to the charge, faces up to three years in county jail, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
A civil suit has also been filed against the city of Los Angeles and the LAPD on behalf of the victim, Richard Castillo.MORE NEWS: Heavy Rains Trigger Mudslide In El Dorado Burn Scar Near Big Bear
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