Video: LAPD Officer Swings A Baton 'Like A Baseball Bat' At Protestors
The LAPD's internal affairs investigators are reviewing the behavior of an officer who was caught on video earlier this month swinging a baton near demonstrators at a protest in South L.A.
A video can be seen on the YouTube channel of @pmbeers, who livestreams and records a number of demonstrations. This video shows the scene at a protest against police brutality on December 1 near 65th Street and Broadway in South L.A., the L.A. Times reports.
The entire video is about six minutes long and shows protesters walking down the street. Police in cruisers and on motorcycles arrive, and at one point, speed past protesters to arrest a man. It is not clear from the video why he was being arrested, though LAPD claimed that protesters would not get out of the street and that the man being arrested had resisted and was fighting officers, KTLA reports. Protesters and photographers are seen rushing to where three officers have the man on the ground, and other officers attempt to keep the protesters away. It's at the 1:35 mark where one officer swings his baton at the group twice, until he is tapped on the shoulder by a supervisor and moved away.
The rest of the video shows the arrest, followed by protesters chanting, "Let him go!"
The woman who shot the footage spoke to the Police Commission on Tuesday, saying he swung the club "like a baseball bat" and that it came within 2 feet of her head. A personnel complaint was initiated after LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith saw the video.
The irony, of course, is that this protest was against excessive police force. These protests have been going on all over the country since the police shooting of unarmed Ferguson teen Michael Brown, and have continued through the grand jury decision not to indict the officer who shot him nor the officers who put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold in New York. Protesters recently held a demonstration at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland. The following day, LAPD officers fatally shot a man who was allegedly carrying a pocket knife (who may have been a street performer who dressed up like the villain in the movie Scream, though it's not clear if he was in costume at the time).
In Los Angeles alone, LAPD officers have arrested hundreds of protesters in the last few weeks.
Warning: Some may find the video graphic, and there is a lot of loud screaming: