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Long Beach Police Defend Caught-on-Camera Violence

Long Beach Police Defend Caught-on-Camera Violence

LONG BEACH (CNS) - Long Beach police found themselves under scrutiny  today after a YouTube video surfaced showing officers beating a suspect while  he was on the ground and using a Taser to subdue him.

The video was shot around 6 p.m. Monday in the 300 block of South Street  when police tried to arrest the man, Sgt. Aaron Eaton, a Long Beach police  spokesman, told City News Service.

The suspect remains hospitalized from the injuries he suffered during  his arrest. Eaton declined to release his name because he hasn't been booked  yet.

The Los Angeles Times today identified the man as 46 year-old Porfirio  Santos-Lopez.

The incident began, Eaton said, with an ``incomplete 911 call.'' Police,  he said, were notified that a fight was going on outside a liquor store. When  officers arrived, they saw two men fighting in the street, Eaton said.

``When officers approached the man, he became uncooperative, irrational  and combative,'' Eaton said. ``The officers tried to take the suspect into  custody but he began to fight with them.''

One of the officers used his Taser on the suspect, which caused him to  fall to the ground, Eaton said.

``An officer then used his baton and the suspect kicked at the officer  and knocked the baton out of his hand,'' Eaton said. ``Then, when they tried to  put him in handcuff, he kicked one of the officers in the face.''

In the video, Santos-Lopez is seen on his back in the middle of the  street. An officer then used his Taser on him and another officer is seen  repeatedly beating the man on his legs and other parts of his body.

Santo-Lopez appeared to yell something at the officers during the beating.

Eaton said that officers saw evidence that the suspect was suffering  from alcohol intoxication, and he said the man later admitted to police that he  had also been using ``methamphetamine.''

When Santos-Lopez is eventually discharged from the hospital, Eaton  said, he likely will be booked on at least four charges, including battery on a  police officer, resisting arrest, battery on the individual he was fighting  with in front of the liquor store, and public intoxication.

Eaton said the department opened up a use-of-force investigation the day  of the arrest. It will determine if all the baton strikes and use of the  Taser was in policy or not.

Command staff also will review training procedures and the equipment  used in the incident and consider whether there is room for improvement.

The officers involved in the arrest remain on duty.

``We don't really have a mechanism or procedure to take them off street  duty while a use of force investigation is underway,'' Eaton said.

 

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