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Sheriff's Dept. Defends Deputies Beating Man With Flashlight

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A video has surfaced that shows L.A. County Sheriff's deputies beating a man who is already down on the ground with a flashlight. Police are defending their actions, saying that the man first struck one officer in the face with a skateboard and another in the head with his arm.

The video was taken by a bystander who said that the arrest occurred on Sunday in East L.A., and that the man was unarmed when officers hit him about 15 times, ABC 7 reports.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department said in a statement that the 15-second video doesn't show "the totality of the situation." The video is actually 28 seconds long.

According to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, officers were responding to reports of a man harassing his ex-girlfriend near a fast food restaurant in the 4200 block of Cesar Chavez Ave. just before 2 p.m. on Sunday. Police were told the man might be armed with a knife.

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Police say that when two deputies searched the man for weapons, he wouldn't put down his skateboard and then smacked one of the officers in the face with it. He then allegedly hit another deputy with his arm. That's when police say those two deputies and a third officer tackled the man to the ground. Police say the officer with the flashlight was striking the man in the side as he continued to struggle with police.

The man was treated at the hospital for a minor injury to his arm and was charged with resisting arrest and assault on a peace officer. Two officers sustained injuries to the head.

The video begins when the three officers are already wrestling with the man on the ground. As the officers scream at the man to "stop fighting" and to put his hands behind his back, one officer repeatedly strikes him with a flashlight. You can see the abandoned skateboard nearby.

"We launched a standard use of force investigation at the time of the incident and the investigation is still on-going. The video will be part of the evidence that is included in the investigation. The Sheriff's Department takes all force by personnel very seriously and will take appropriate action," the sheriff's department said in a statement.

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Policing the police has become a pretty popular activity in light of numerous controversial encounters between officers and citizens. The ACLU even released an app that allows users to record video that will be transferred straight to the user's local ACLU chapter.

A video recorded by a bystander that showed a CHP officer punching a woman on the side of the road last year sparked outrage and an investigation. The woman eventually received a $1.5 million settlement.