Police are reviewing a videotape showing an officer kick a suspect, Richard Rodriguez, 23, in the head despite the fact that the suspect was not resisting and was lying on the ground with his arms and legs spread. The officer then high fived a partner.
El Monte Police Chief Tom Armstrong has insisted that he is withholding his judgment as they investigate, which is appropriate. He noted “I worked internal affairs for four years and I have learned that you do not make a decision in a vacuum. I do not know what was in the mind of that officer, as to why he did that. I saw the individual turn his head toward the officer.” That last part is a bit difficult to track. Why does it matter that a suspect with his arms and legs spread out on the ground turned his face to the officer? Frankly, it does not matter what was in the mind of the officer when he kicks a suspect in the face without cause. Another officer then appears to strike Rodriguez repeatedly.
Rodriguez is reportedly a gang member with El Monte Flores gang.
When police tried to stop the motorist for a traffic violation, Rodriguez sped off while reportedly throwing things from the car in a police chase at about 85 mph.
The fact is that police are human and the high five is understandable in such a pumped up situation. Moreover, there may be something that we cannot see that caused the second officer to strike Rodriguez, who may have resisted being cuffed. That is not clear. However, the kick in the head seems entirely without cause or justification. It is difficult to imagine an excuse for that act.
For the video, click here.
For the full story, click here.