Police Beating Caught on Tape in LA
(Los Angeles-KABC, June 23, 2004) — Police in Los Angeles chased a man suspected of driving a stolen car. The arrest, caught on tape, shows an officer hitting the man repeatedly with a flashlight after he appeared to surrender.
Images from Sister Station KABC
Video from KABC-TV
The chase began shortly after 5:00 a.m. Wednesday in an area patrolled by the Los Angeles Police Department's Southeast Station, said LAPD Officer Sandra Escalante of the Media Relations office. The man's name was not immediately released, and it was unclear if he was injured.
Patrolling LAPD officers saw a white Toyota Camry that was reported stolen from Compton, Escalante said, adding that the officers tried in vain to pull the vehicle over.
The pursuit reportedly ended on Caldwell Street in Compton, where the man got out and ran off.
KABC television aired footage shot from a helicopter that showed the man running down a grassy area near the Compton Creek. He stopped, got down on his hands and knees and appeared to surrender to an officer.
Several other officers then ran up and the man was forced face down onto the ground, where one of the officers struck at the man's upper body at least 10 times with a long flashlight.
Reportedly, one officer told a local news station that the man had been resisting.
The footage was eerily similar to the infamous video of the beating of Rodney King in 1991, which also happened at the end of a nighttime LAPD pursuit. King was struck dozens of times by officers using batons after he led them on a chase that began in the LAPD's Foothill Station jurisdiction. Video shot by an amateur cameraman and broadcast worldwide showed officers striking and kicking King. Officers were later acquitted by a Simi Valley jury in connection with the beating, triggering the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
The officers were subsequently convicted of federal charges.
Today's incident came only days after the LAPD entered a two-year period during which it must show substantial compliance with a raft of reforms mandated under a consent degree agreement reached by the city of Los Angeles and the U.S. Justice Department in 2001.
If it fails to demonstrate compliance, federal monitoring of the LAPD will continue beyond the two-year period.
The city agreed to the consent decree as a way of staving off a federal lawsuit after the Justice Department reported that it had identified a "pattern and practice" of civil rights violations by the LAPD.