Incident Occurs Just Two Days after Police Commission Reduces
Punitive Measures for Officers Who Use Force
On the morning of July 24, 2008, LAPD officers brazenly assaulted a homeless man in front of scores of witnesses. The incident, partially videotaped by the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), is yet another example of the brutality experienced by Skid Row residents under Mayor Villaraigosa’s highly publicized “Safer City Initiative.” The graphic video shows police officers kneeing the man in his mid-section and striking him forcefully in the head with clenched fists. Screams can be heard in the background pleading for the officers to stop. After at least a dozen additional officers and paramedics arrive on the scene, the man was taken away in an ambulance. Witnesses stated that the man was simply eating sunflower seeds on the sidewalk when police approached him and started assaulting him.
Notably, this unnecessary use of force came just two days after the Police Commission approved Chief Bratton’s proposal to reduce discipline and oversight in “use of force” incidents.
In an attempt to stop the ongoing human rights violations in downtown LA, including unnecessary use of force, LA CAN has empowered residents with video cameras and legal information regarding their right to document police officers in the course of their duty. While this Community Watch program has been instrumental in reducing civil rights violations by LAPD, this latest incident shows that there is still much work to be done in ending the longstanding oppression of the Skid Row community.
Please visit the link below to view the video part of the beating and a witness statement on youtube. Copies can also be obtained from LA CAN, as well as additional witness statements.