WARNING: Disturbing Video Below
Unprovoked Attack by Officer
On April 27, two LAPD officers with the Hollenbeck Division had stopped an individual who was trespassing. According to NBCLosAngeles.com, “Richard Castillo claims in an initial complaint he was living in a vacant lot on Houston Street, between a church and some homes, and was unaware he was trespassing until he was confronted and ordered to leave by two uniformed police officers April 27.”
The video shows Mr. Castillo with his hands behind his back, not resisting in any way, when the male officer begins attacking him. Throughout the video Mr. Castillo tries to avoid the blows but never returns any aggression. The officer, who has unofficially been identified as Frank Hernandez, seems to get angrier by the moment, even going so far as to yank off his sunglasses, throwing them aside, so he can see better while assaulting Mr. Castillo. Officer Hernandez appears to hit Mr. Castillo approximately 18 times. After the attack Mr. Castillo was released without any charges.
Los Angeles Has a History of Protecting Violent Officers
Los Angeles has frequent issues with abuse by their police officers. Even though only one of the officers assaults Mr. Castillo, the other officer does absolutely nothing to intervene. But it’s not just within the ranks. District Attorney Lacey has failed to bring charges against officers in other cases such as the shooting death of Brendon Glenn and the beating of Marlene Pinnock. In the death of Glenn, even the police chief said that the shooting was unjustified yet Lacey would not file charges.
And going by her comments regarding this assault, we have reason to be concerned. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Lacey would not say when the evidence review might be completed. Based on the law and the U.S. criminal justice system, many excessive force cases “boil down” to what was going on in the mind of the officer involved as the events were unfolding, she said.” Well, I guess all an officer has to do is relay some horrible scenario that was supposedly going on in his mind, the heck with the actual actions that were occurring, and D.A. Lacey will feel the officer was justified.
Is There Justification?
Unsurprisingly, even with the video, there are questions regarding whether the officer was justified in his assault on Mr. Castillo. An item, a screw with a homemade handle, was taken as evidence. It’s not very clear but it seems the item falls to the ground during the assault. Even if Mr. Castillo did have it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a homeless person had some kind of weapon for protection, Mr. Castillo never used it to attack the officer. From what we see in the video, there is no justification for the assault. At the point where the video starts, Mr. Castillo was not resisting. He had his hands behind his back. Say he was talking smack to the officer. That still would not have justified the attack. Or maybe, before this point, there had been a scuffle. If so, then it was over and still would not have justified this assault.
Fall Out from the Assault
Mr. Castillo has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department. His lawsuit claims excessive force and brutality. Officer Hernandez, who has been with the Los Angeles Police Department for at least 20 years, has been involved in three shootings during his career. Due to his assault of Mr. Castillo, Officer Hernandez has been, what they call, assigned to home. I suspect for us that would be placing him on administrative leave. The female officer was placed on administrative duty which at least means she is off the streets for now.
WARNING: Disturbing Video Below
This LAPD officer is under investigation after footage showed him repeatedly punching a suspect pic.twitter.com/GAnJw303pL
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 10, 2020