Police Officer Fired Taser At Handcuffed Woman While Joking Around With Other Officers
A video captured an arrest from two years ago that shows an LAPD police officer firing a taser on a handcuffed woman in the back of a patrol car while another officer laughed and sang.The LAPD police officer who fired the taser twice without warning, Jorge Santander, later lied about how it happened written reports, according to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
The incident, detailed in documents obtained by the Times, began in a parking lot near a Hollywood nightclub around 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 4, 2010. Officers were responding to a call from a couple that a drunk woman had gotten inside their car and refused to leave. Two officers Steven Bauman and Jose Lepe responded to the scene and arrested the woman on suspicion of public intoxication. They handcuffed the woman and called for a female officer to respond to the scene to search the woman. Santander and his partner Georgeta Buruiana responded.
Lepe tried to seat her in the back of his patrol car, but the woman resisted. Lepe pushed her into the backseat, but then for some reason they decided the woman should ride in the patrol car of Santander and Buruinana. At this point, a video is capturing everything on tape. They led the woman into their car, and again she refused to sit down. They shoved her into the car, but she stood up again. Without any warning Santander fired a taser twice at the woman's torso, causing her to fall face down into the back seat. She then began kicking and screaming. Santander climbed into the front seat and told the woman that she needed to comply with them or else he would tase her. He pulled out his taser activated it, but it's hard to tell on video if he pulled away before delivering a shock to her or not.
At some point, Santander shows everyone a Superman logo that he's wearing under his uniform. Another officer just off-camera is laughing and singing.
Santander and the other three officers who witnessed the incident were suspended without pay shortly after the incident. They face losing their jobs in a series of hearings scheduled in the coming months in front of the LAPD's discipline panels (one officer's hearing has already started). LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has made it clear that he wants to see the officers fired. In fact, the internal inquiry was postponed so that the case could be referred to the District Attorney's office for criminal charges, though the office said there wasn't enough evidence that a crime had occurred.
The Times points out that this is the fourth incident in recent months that has come to light in which officers use force on restrained suspects (a woman died following a struggle with police in July). LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told the Times these incidents are "isolated, unrelated cases in which officers got out of line."