Long Beach police caught on camera beating suspect with baton

September 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Long Beach police officers were caught on camera beating a suspect who was already on the ground. The man's family is speaking out as an internal police investigation is underway.

Police say it started with a fight over a beer can outside a liquor store. Suspect Porfirio Santos Lopez threw punches toward a group of men. Authorities say he's drunk and later says he's high on meth.

As the fighting continued, witnesses called 911 and authorities soon arrived at the scene. Police say Lopez resisted arrest and kicked at an officer's baton. He fell to the ground after being Tasered.

Santos Lopez was beaten with a police baton at least six times while on the ground. Officers ordered him repeatedly to get on his stomach, but he refused, leading to even more tasing.

It was a stunning sight for witnesses.

"It was way too much. I felt like he was drunk, so they could have easily gotten him down as many of them as there were," said witness Mycalneisha Jackson.

One woman, who didn't want to be identified, shot cellphone video of the incident and said she thinks the officers abused their power.

"There's no points about it, that they just don't look good to anybody. But, in this particular case, the officer is trying to get this individual who was combative, who was irrational," said Sgt. Aaron Eaton with the Long Beach Police Department.

The suspect's sister started crying when she saw her brother's bloodied face. He is now at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. His family says he's suffering from broken bones, cuts, and a collapsed lung.

"They're supposed to help us, not hurt us," said Santos Lopez's wife, Lee Ann Hernandez.

Hernandez says she and her husband have called authorities for help with his undiagnosed mental illness for months.

"I keep telling the police he needs help, he needs help, he needs help and they wouldn't do anything. And they turn around and beat him for nothing. That's not right," she said.

Santos Lopez is expected to face charges for resisting arrest and battery. His family is planning to sue the department for police brutality.

Police say the responding officers didn't know about Santos Lopez's undiagnosed mental condition at the time of the incident. The officers remain on active duty as the investigation continues.


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