A Los Angeles police officer is under fire amid allegations that he kicked and beat a man who was being held down by other officers, sources close to the investigation told the Los Angeles Times.
Four officers involved in the arrest and a sergeant who arrived on the scene have been relieved of duty with pay during an investigation into the Oct. 16 encounter.
The episode began when the man, Clinton Alford, 22, was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk in Los Angeles and a man ordered him to stop. But Alford did not stop because the man did not identify himself as a police officer, the Times writes. Alford said someone grabbed the back of the bike, and he jumped off and ran.
He was apprehended after a short pursuit. “Footage from the security camera on a nearby building captured Alford voluntarily laying down on the street and putting his hands behind his back, according to several people who viewed the recording,” the Times writes.
“The officers restrained Alford, who made no movements and did not resist, the sources said,” according to the Times report.
Alford was treated at a hospital for a gash on his ear and released. He was booked on suspicion of drug possession and resisting arrest and later released on his own recognizance, the Times writes. He has pleaded not guilty.
Several police officials who saw the video told the paper that the officer delivered a powerful kick to the man’s head. One said the officer resembled “a football player kicking a field goal,” the report says, while another simply called it “horrific.” Alford, the police officials said, had surrendered and was not resisting the officers, the Times report says.
A lawyer for the officer accused of kicking Alford told the Times that Alford had been kicked but that the blow had struck his shoulder. He said the officers had used appropriate force while trying to handcuff Alford.
Chief Charlie Beck of the Los Angeles Police Department released a statement to the Times on Friday saying he was “extremely concerned about this particular use of force.”
“This investigation is ongoing, and there is still much that needs to be done to determine the facts of this matter, but let me be very clear, any officer that is found to abuse the public is not welcome in this department, and we will apply whatever legal or administrative means necessary to insure the community’s trust without exception,” Beck’s statement to the newspaper says.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.