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D.A. Will Not File Charges After Officer Kicked Suspect in the Head Case

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District Attorney Steve, who is considering a run for Attorney General, last week announced that no charges will be filed against the El Monte police officer who kicked a car chase suspect in the head, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The incident happened back in May after a dangerous police pursuit. At one point, Richard Rodriguez fled the car and became trapped in a backyard. Before officers arrived, he laid down on the ground, face down, with his arms spread out. The first arriving officer, George Fierro, kicked Rodriguez in the head, making the TV helicopter footage an instant hit on the internet.

Police said it was a distraction kick, therefore it was justified. Lawyers representing Rodriguez said not so fast, but District Attorney Steve Cooley sided with the police. In D.A. evaluation worksheet of the incident, here's how it went down, as they see it:

When Fierro was about two to three feet away, Rodriguez flinched as if he was about to raise his head. Fearing that Rodriguez might try to get up and fight him, Fierro kicked Rodriguez on the right side of his face as a distraction blow to get him to submit to the arrest. Rodriguez then slightly raised his upper torso as if to get up to fight, so Fierro pepper sprayed him in the face.

From the angle of the video, is this how it went down, as you see it? The report went on to say that various medical reports found that Rodriguez' injury was superficial and that he never complained of pain. "The physical evidence of Rodriquez's injuries are significanltly more consistent with a blow intended to stun or temporarily distract him than with a kick done out of anger or vindictiveness with an intent to cause physical injury," it said.

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Read the full report (.pdf) here.