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Criminal Justice

LA DA Gascón Charges Baldwin Park Officer In Alleged On-Duty Assault On Teen Under Arrest

A building with a white facade and tall block columns sits behind a gated entrance that's open.
Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center photographed in September. The former Baldwin Park officer charged with an on-duty assault is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at the court on Dec. 7.
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L.A County District Attorney George Gascón has charged a Baldwin Park police officer with two counts of assault connected to the alleged beating of a 16-year-old boy who was under arrest.

The officer, Ryan Felton, pleaded not guilty Wednesday. The Baldwin Park Department said he no longer works for them.

In a news release, the DA's office gave this account of what took place:

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On September 22, 2019, Felton and another officer were involved in a pursuit of a vehicle that had allegedly failed to yield during a traffic stop. The vehicle stopped and a youth exited and is accused of running away.

Felton got out of his vehicle and gave chase on foot. A short time later, the teen surrendered and laid face down on the ground. Felton is charged with kicking the teen while he was on the ground and assaulting him while he sat in the back of Felton’s squad car.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“Those who wear the uniform must follow the law. Excessive force will not be tolerated in Los Angeles County,” Gascón said in a statement.

Gascón has promised to more closely scrutinize police officers who use force than his predecessor, Jackie Lacey. He has created a panel to review police shootings that Lacey determined to be legally justified. The panel will recommend whether criminal charges should be filed against the officers involved.

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Criminal justice reporter Frank Stoltze contributed to this report.