In one video, at least eight Los Angeles police officers surround a woman lying in a Hollywood street as the buzz of a Taser fills the air. People scream from apartment balconies for the officers, who appear to be firing the stun gun at the woman, to stop.
In another video, an LAPD vehicle barrels into a crowd of protesters in Pershing Square, nearly driving over one before backing up and speeding away as protesters throw objects at the car.
On Tuesday, footage of a curfew arrest in Hollywood ends with the unarmed arrestee held at gunpoint and pleading for mercy as a police radio squawks with orders for officers to take anyone they see into custody. In L.A. County, sheriff’s deputies in one video appear to shoot pellets out of a moving vehicle at young men on the street, and those in another video punch and knee a young man on the ground in Compton.
With cellphone cameras everywhere and social media providing a livestream of unprecedented protests against police brutality, there has been a steady stream of new videos showing troubling police behavior.
It will take time for a full assessment of how police in Southern California performed and how widespread cases of misconduct have been. Protesters and some civil liberties activists have slammed the police tactics as unacceptable. And even city leaders admit there have been problematic incidents and have called for investigations and reforms based on what has emerged.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said the LAPD would reduce the use of foam rounds after many complaints from protesters who were hit by the projectiles. The mayor also said Wednesday that he would support the creation of a special prosecutor to review officer criminal misconduct cases, a longtime demand of activists.
The Times reviewed more than a dozen videos and shared several with police officials for comment. Josh Rubenstein, a police spokesman, said officers had been responding for days to “dynamic and at times dangerous situations” and had had rocks and bottles thrown at them.
But Rubenstein declined to provide explanations for the specific actions of officers caught in videos that have gone viral, including several in which officers can be seen aggressively beating non-violent protesters with their batons.
Source: LA Times
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