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LAPD Investigates 'Horrific' Beating Of Suspect Caught On Tape

A line of yellow police tape stretches over a sidewalk at night
(Peggy Archer via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the "horrific" beating of a suspect by a police officer during an arrest earlier this month that was caught on security camera.

The arrest, which happened in South Los Angeles on October 16 around 12:15 p.m., was recorded by a local business' security camera and officials who have seen the tape say the officer kicked the head of the suspect while he is already on the ground. After he had already surrendered and no longer resisting arrest, the officer is said to deliver a blow described as "a football player kicking a field goal," as one official said to the LA Times.

The suspect, 22-year old Clinton Alford, says he was riding his bicycle on Avalon Boulevard near 55th Street when a car pulled up behind up and somebody ordered him to stop. Because that person did not say they were police, Alford kept riding. When one of the officers grabbed his bike, he took off on foot. The two officers caught up to Alford, which is when he can be seen "voluntarily laying down on the street and putting his hands behind his back," according to people who have seen the tape.

Another patrol car is then seen pulling up and the officer driving that car gets out and delivers the beating to Alford. He can be seen on the tape "kicking" or "stomping" Alford on his head and upper body. According to Alford and and two officials who reviewed the tape, Alford was already handcuffed before the beating took place. "I was just praying that they wouldn't kill me. I just closed my eyes and tried to hold on," Alford told the times.

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Alfred was described as limp and motionless after the beating and had to be carried by several officers into the patrol car.

The officers' conduct after the arrest has also been called into question. On the tape, after Alford had been put in the car, they noticed the camera on the wall and the officer who kicked Alford knocks on the door the business and enters the building.

The arrest record lists the "arresting officer" as Julio Cortez, the "second arresting officer" as Richard Garcia, and the other two as Joshua Tornek and Ruben Rosas. Sources told the Times that Garcia is the officer who beat Alford.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck released a statement on Friday evening, saying, "I am extremely concerned about this particular use of force." The statement said that the Force Investigation Division was assigned to investigate the incident and Beck added, "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."

An attorney representing the officers told the Times,"It is my belief once everything is explained and all the nuances of the incident are understood, it will be clear the force the officers used was appropriate and necessary." He also disputes the events as described by officials who have reviewed the tape.

Alford was booked on suspicion of drug possession and resisting arrest, and has pleaded not guilty.

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