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Man Says El Monte Police Beat Him Until He Was Blind

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A man in El Monte has filed a suit against the city's police department, claiming that an officer who went to arrest him used excessive force and beat him until he was nearly blind.

Cornelio Chavez, 35, suffered the beating in June while officers were arresting him on an outstanding warrant, The Pasadena Star-News reports.

Police said Chavez confronted the police after they found him hiding in a closet. At one point, an officer who believed Chavez was reaching for his gun struck him in the head, police said.

"According to witnesses, this beating lasted from 20 minutes to an hour," Chavez's attorney Brad Gage said. "Our client was pleading for help."

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Gage told The Los Angeles Times that when Chavez's 3-year-old nephew Jonathan tried to come to his aid, "One or more officers pulled out either a gun or a Taser gun to point it at the 3-year-old."

Chavez spent weeks in the hospital, after the beating, Gage said. He said most of the bones in Gage's face were broken, he was bleeding from his brain and he lost about 85 percent of his eyesight, which he is not expected to regain.

The District Attorney's office charged Chavez in the incident with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

This isn't the first time that El Monte Police have been accused of using excessive force when trying to arrest a suspect. In 2009, an El Monte police officer was caught on live TV delivering a kick to the head of a suspect that already surrendered.