A California police officer had already shot three people on the job before he was caught on video for beating up a suspect.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) released a statement this week about the use-of-force incident which occurred on April 27. According to the statement, Officer Frank A. Hernandez and another officer responded to a trespassing call in the Hollenbeck area. The officers asked the suspected trespasser to leave the property.
A bystander's video shows the suspect standing with his hands behind his back just before Hernandez mercilessly beats him.
CAUGHT ON VIDEO… LAPD Hollenbeck Division officer throws flurry of punches at a man detained by police. The incident prompted an internal investigation against the officer for misconduct and excessive use of force. FULL VIDEO and story here: https://t.co/JWBbxpnzX8 pic.twitter.com/HWONTUErqU
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) May 5, 2020
The suspect sustained "abrasions to his head and face" while Hernandez received injuries to his hand.
An internal affairs group for the police department is now investigating the incident and Hernandez was "assigned home."
LAPD Chief Michel Moore released his own statement on Tuesday, saying the incident was "clearly not consistent with the core values of the Los Angeles Police Department."
For Hernandez, however, the incident is but another mark in his record. Hernandez has been involved in not one, not two, but three shootings on the job.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the first shooting occurred in 1999 when Hernandez shot a robbery suspect.
The second occurred in 2008. Hernandez was pursuing a suspect who threatened officers with a firearm when he crossed paths with Joseph Wolf, who had nothing to do with the incident. Hernandez yelled at Wolf to stop. When he attempted to return to his home, since he was a bystander, Hernandez shot him in the leg. Wolf was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, but the only weapons found in his residence were two plastic toy guns. Wolf later accused the LAPD of fabricating charges, which were eventually dropped, to cover up the mistake.
The most recent shooting occurred in 2010. Manuel Jaminez Xum, a day laborer from Guatemala, was reportedly wielding a knife while drunk and threatening two women in the area. Officers ordered him to put the weapon down in English and Spanish. Hernandez shot him twice after he allegedly lunged towards him. Activists protested the shooting because they said Jaminez spoke K'iche', an indigenous Guatemalan language, and could not have possibly understood the commands.
As for repercussions, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office found each shooting justified. If Hernandez's recent behavior is truly inconsistent with the LAPD's values, as Moore stated, then the department ought to make sure he finally faces real consequences for his recurrent use of excessive force.
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