Cameras

Long Beach Footage: Man Provokes Cops by Laying on Back, Screaming While Beaten, Tased

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Another day, another horrific video of apparent police brutality against a mentally unstable man. This time, the scene is set in Long Beach, California and the victim's name is Porfirio Santos-Lopez, 46.

According to the LA Times, Santos-Lopez was seen hitting another man on the head in surveillance footage, so the cops stopped him with good reason. What happened next is captured in the footage above and elicited these reactions from experts on police abuse:

Greg Meyer, a former LAPD captain and use-of-force expert, said the baton blows shown on the YouTube video appeared to follow protocol. He cautioned that the recording did not show the full context of the interaction or clarify exactly how Santos-Lopez was injured.

"It doesn't appear from the video that the police officers were doing anything wrong," Meyer said. "But we still don't know all the facts here."

But Larry Smith, a use-of-force expert and retired Fontana police sergeant and former training specialist, said the response looked excessive because of the baton use. He questioned why the officers didn't exhaust other nonlethal measures — such as pepper spray — or move in to handcuff Santos-Lopez after he was Tasered.

"To me, he must not have been that violent, because otherwise the other officers would have jumped in," Smith said. "They could have always just dog-piled him and then you're not hitting him with a baton."

Santo-Lopez's girlfriend says the guy has been off his feed for a while:

He would constantly call police and paramedics, she said, and she would ask that they take him to a psychiatric facility. Hernandez said authorities told her they couldn't because Santos-Lopez was not a danger to himself. They gave her the number of a police psychiatric unit, she said, but they never returned her calls.

"They had no right to beat him up like that," she said. "They don't need to be doing that to someone like that."

Read the whole thing here.

Whatever happens in this case—Santo-Lopez's family is reportedly getting ready to sue the LBPD—thank god for ubiquitous and dispersed cameras that allow fuller pictures of controversial cases to emerge.

Reason on cameras.

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  1. DON’T TAZE ME BRO!

    1. STOP RESISTING!

  2. Why is Gillespie posting this? It’s not about Syria or the budget. Who got fired?

  3. Greg Meyer, a former LAPD captain and use-of-force expert, said the baton blows shown on the YouTube video appeared to follow protocol.

    So protocol involves repeatedly clubbing and electrocuting a guy who is prone on his back?

    1. Yes, yes it does. Got a problem with that, civilian?

    2. So protocol involves repeatedly clubbing and electrocuting a guy who is prone on his back?

      When they told him to roll over, he didn’t, so non-compliance… beat harder-er.

    3. Procedures were followed.

  4. I don’t know what the libertarian solution for the mentally disturbed should entail. It seems some use of force is needed to make people take medication or get counseling. I don’t mean disturbed like gambling addiction, I mean like schizophrenic.

    1. I guess you aren’t a Thomas Szasz fan.

      1. I don’t know who that is.

        1. Nor do I, do explain.

    2. Watch the video. If you are OK with what takes place in the video, heaven help you.

      Using force to get someone under control is one thing. Trying to break their legs because you aren’t getting the level of cooperation and obeisance that you desire is something else entirely.

      If 9 guys can’t get one uncooperative guy who is laying on his back on the ground and not currently a threat to anyone under control without resorting to intentionally causing permanent physical damage….. well, then you need to get 9 new guys, because that’s just ridiculous.

    3. Different discussion. There’s force in that we found you fully decompensated on a street corner swinging a rusty, folded up chair at passers by, so we picked you up and had you committed against your will.

      Then there’s the moment where you do the picking up– where you might have to get forceful while he’s swinging the chair, but once he’s lying on his back, unarmed, you don’t mill around him calmly, whacking him with your baton. YOu have one or two officers perform a hold on him while two others grab your arms and cuff you. Yes, there might be an initial tasering while you’re holding the chair, maybe even a macing if you initially fight back after being disarmed. But the continued, ongoing beating is a crime.

      1. I wasn’t referring to this case in particular or defending the police. I was thinking about my cousin who is schizophrenic and his family is afraid of him. He is court order to take medication but every time he is released he stops taking his medication, threatens his family gets arrested, released, repeat. I don’t know a rights respecting system of forcing him into treatment that couldn’t be abused for other reasons.

        1. that’s kind of why I said ‘different discussion’. It’s been had here before.

          There’s the deep theory position of libertarianism that says you really can’t force anyone to do anything or treat people medically against their will, even if they’re severely decompensated.

          The laws surrounding an involuntary commit are actually pretty strict and in most jurisdictions make it quite difficult to do… because there’s a lot of due process involved. That’s where the discussion gets lost.

          1. Due process really is the crux of the matter. It is acceptable to relieve people of property and freedom for crimes. I guess I get stuck on the fact that the mentally ill didn’t choose their actions like a sane criminal would.

            1. I guess I get stuck on the fact that the mentally ill didn’t choose their actions like a sane criminal would.

              Which is why you have “not guilty by reason of insanity”.

              What I don’t get about it is when someone commits a crime when they were clearly insane, knew not what they were doing– there are cases where the courts will ‘treat’ the person until he’s sane enough to stand trial.

              So, someone who was so crazy out of their tree that they literally had no understanding that their actions were wrong, are made to be ex post facto sane so they can be convicted of what they did wrong.

              I believe they did this in both the Loughner and Colorado theater shootings.

      2. But they might get their pants dirty or something equally horrible.

  5. Santos-Lopez? Is that one o’ them white hispanic troublemakers I keep hearing so much about?

    1. It depends. I can’t see the video thanks to the filters at work, are the cops white? If so, then he’s just hispanic-hispanic and the cops are racist shitheads (as opposed to just plain shitheads). If, however, the cops are not white, then he is a white-hispanic and had it coming.

  6. Greg Meyer, a former LAPD captain and use-of-force expert, said the baton blows shown on the YouTube video appeared to follow protocol. He cautioned that the recording did not show the full context of the interaction or clarify exactly how Santos-Lopez was injured.

    “It doesn’t appear from the video that the police officers were doing anything wrong,” Meyer said. “But we still don’t know all the facts here.”

    This is exhibit A as to why we are so fucked as a nation. There is something wrong. The video is the evidence that these cops are committing a crime.

    I had a civics class when I was a kid and there was a discussion about use of force with police. No matter how bad the guy is, no matter how dangerous he was, once subdued, it’s over, and the cops are supposed to stop using that kind of force, period, the end, es todo, el punto finale, no mas, el fin, goodnight Irene, the fat lady has done sung her song, the curtains have dropped and Elvis has left the building, discussion o-v-e-r.

    This video shows a man who is lying on the ground in a fully defensive position, being hit by officers who appear to be taking turns.

    I would personally challenge any one of these lard-assed cops to have a go with eight of my friends, and I guaran-fucking-tee we could get his pig-ass into cuffs quickly and without a prolonged beating, as much as it disappoints me to say.

    1. Agreed. Seriously, WTF. The cops clearly do not actually think the guy is a threat, because they’re just standing around watching him, and one of them delivers a baton blow every ten seconds or so. That doesn’t seem like how you’d deal with someone who was actually threatening.

      1. Yeah, they’re about as casual as you can be beating someone down. They obviously did not feel threatened in the least.

        1. That’s because they all believe that they are following proper procedure.

          1. Issue command
          2. Did you get immediate compliance with command?
          2.a. Yes – proceed with arrest
          2.b. No – Whack shins and kneecaps with baton, go to step 1.

          And as we heard from the “force utilization expert”, they were probably all trained to use force in this manner.

  7. Don’t all of them just EXUDE bravery and courage with each nightstick blow against an unarmed guy the ground?

    So much bravery, nobility, and courage in that video, I don’t know they contained it all in that frame.

    1. They’re heroes

  8. “It doesn’t appear from the video that the police officers were doing anything wrong,” Meyer said. “But we still don’t know all the facts here.”

    And you can bet your ass the union and their superior officers will spare no effort to ensure the facts are never known.

    Unless the guy had already caused grievous bodily injury to somebody, climing those cops were “not doing anything wrong” is bullshit.

    1. The only reason we have video is because it was clearly taken by a witness. Dash-cam video would have disappeared due to technical issues.

  9. And this is the part where the usual cop-fellators will turn up to argue that not every cop is like this, there are bad apples in every bunch, and that law enforcement is one of the legitimate tasks of government.

    Piss on that, I say. Sure, not every cop is like this, but far too many are, and far more are comfortable enough with it to give it a pass rather than demanding that these thugs get hung from fucking lampposts and beaten like pinatas.

    And while law enforcement may be one of the few legitimate functions of government, what we have is not “law enforcement” in any reasonable sense of the word. Rather — as illustrated by this episode — what we have are increasingly-militarized government agencies chock-a-block with macho assholes who imagine themselves under siege by, and at war with, the population they’re supposed to be protecting and serving. How about me and eight of my buddies take turns bludgeoning the shit out of Greg Meyer, former LAPD captain and use of force expert, and ask him how much it matters that protocols were followed?

    1. There’s a difference between “peace keeping” and “law enforcement” that I think tends to get overlooked.

      I don’t think law enforcement is the proper way to go about things, because of the crazy, non-stop laws we have governing everything in our lives.

      If we say that “it is sometimes appropriate for law enforcement officers to use force when the law is broken”, it is exactly the same as saying “Sometimes it’s all right if a cop just beats the living piss out of anyone anywhere for any reason, because everyone everywhere is breaking the law ALL THE TIME”.

      If we just shaved down the use of police in ANY CIRCUMSTANCE to the investigation of cases of theft and violence, and nothing else, ever, we would have far fewer problems.

  10. If the guy is on the ground, curled in a ball, there is no reason to do anything other than stand there with your arms folded, blocking his escape. It pays the same.

    This is, of course, why I’m not a cop.

    1. Clearly, you’ve never witnessed Leaping Spider style in which the prone person can be up on his feet and charging you with a deadly weapon in the flash of an eye! This is clearly why the cops look so pensive and nervous while they calmly circle him, whacking him with a baton every ten seconds or so. They’re clearly probing his defenses!

  11. I did not watch the video, but I’m guessing not one of the noble cops even *suggests* they might want to lay off.

  12. He was resisting – When will people learn that the correct way to deal with police is to die instantly

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