A Los Angeles Police Department officer is on leave after being caught on video punching a handcuffed suspect who was being lifted into a waiting ambulance after a botched carjacking.
A Monday report from KTTV-TV stated that the unnamed officer has been “relieved of his police powers” after the incident, which took place Saturday in the San Fernando Valley area.
Authorities say two carjacking suspects were taken into custody after a chase ended with a crash in San Fernando.
Witnesses to the incident said that they saw the suspect, who remains unnamed at the time of this reporting, spit on the officer before the assault and become “aggressive” toward first responders immediately after the crash.
According to the Daily Mail, the suspect reportedly referred to a group of officers as “bitch” during an angry outburst.
One witness told the station, “They had already put [the suspect] on a gurney and they were in the middle of tying him down as he was screaming his head off, he was telling him to take off his badge, and next thing you know you just see him spit on the officer. So when he spit on the officer, that’s when … the police ended up hitting him.”
The Daily Mail added that an officer was then seen telling the suspect, “Don’t do that s**t again to any officer.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the department learned about the video on Sunday and immediately launched an investigation into the officer’s behavior.
An investigation into the arrest is ongoing.
In a statement on the incident, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said, “The images in the video are deeply disturbing and while we must wait for the investigation to be completed, the department will act swiftly in any instance of excessive or unnecessary force.”