The feds have an opened an investigation into the latest videotaped incident involving what looks to be excessive force by LAPD officers. The suspect, gang member William Cardenas, had run when confronted by police and was wanted for receiving stolen property. The tape shows him down with officers Alexander Schlegel and Patrick Farrell on top of him and striking him in the face. Cardenas was heard yelling that he couldn't breathe.
"There's no denying that the video is disturbing," LAPD Chief William Bratton said at a news conference. The department has its own investigation underway. "But as to whether the actions of the officers were appropriate in light of what they were experiencing and the totality of the circumstances is what the investigation will determine." Both have been reassigned to administrative work while the department investigates. The arrest occurred Aug. 11 but just came to light via a video posted on YouTube.
Mayor Villaraigosa issued a statement:
I am troubled by the video images that became public today. Over the years, I have come to realize that video images may not be all that they appear to be at first blush, or tell the whole story. I have, however, asked the Chief and the Inspector General to ensure a swift and thorough investigation of this matter.
If, after a full and complete investigation it is determined that a misuse of force has occurred, the public and the men and women of the LAPD have a right to expect that the full weight of the law will be applied.
Bob Baker, head of the Police Protective League, also emailed a statement:
Police action recorded at poor quality from one angle frequently is unclear and misrepresents the story. This is why it is important to know all the facts in a case and not rush to judgment. We are confident that the Force Investigation Division will do a thorough examination of the incident, and clear Officers Farrell and Schlegel of any wrongdoing.
LAist reconstructs the media and blog coverage. Still no mention on the LAPD's news blog. Update: It's up there now.