Long Beach beating: Police in Long Beach, Calif. were caught on film viciously beating a mentally disabled man with their batons. Video of the Long Beach beating has stirred, once again, issues of excessive force and police brutality, reports the LA Times on Sept. 4.
On Labor Day, Porfirio Santos-Lopez, seen in the video surrounded by multiple officers, was involved in an altercation with two other men outside of a liquor store. Police were called, and Santos-Lopez allegedly refused to cooperate with the officer’s directions.
A cell phone video was taken from a nearby opening, which shows the officers shouting directions at Santos-Lopez, beating him with their police batons, and ultimately using a taser on the man.
“In the beginning, he was not fighting back. He was just laying there, taking the Tase and the baton hits,” the anonymous woman who filmed the attack said. “I guess it’s just a typical reaction that anybody would have – just start kicking around.”
Now, the wife of the beaten man, Lee Ann Hernandez, is speaking out, saying they plan to sue the Long Beach Police Department. Hernandez says that her husband suffers from mental illnesses, hears voices and sees things that are not there, all something she says police are familiar with because they have been called to assist him before.
Nevertheless, Hernandez says the force used by police was excessively brutal.
“They broke two of his bones in his right arm around his elbow. They broke it so bad that he needed surgery,” Hernandez said. He also had a collapsed lung and cuts that required stitches to close, his wife reported.
"He thinks my late husband is here," Hernandez said. "He thinks he’s angry [at me] and [Porfirio] is trying to hurt him. He’s not the one to go out and fight. His mind was probably agitated and he wasn’t himself."
Police are telling a different story.
Long Beach Police Sgt. Aaron Eaton says Santos-Lopez was “combative” and “irrational.” Referring to the viral video, Eaton said, “In the video that is on YouTube, he can be seen kicking at the officers.”
Eaton said Santos-Lopez was drunk, and had kicked one officer in the face and kicked the baton out of another officer’s hand. Police say he refused to turn onto his front side at the officers' repeated requests, leading them to subdue Santos-Lopez with force.
The video evidence is available. What are your thoughts? Police brutality or necessary force? Leave a message below.