Police Abuse

Body Camera Footage Refutes LAPD Cop's Story About Being Attacked Before Brutalizing a Suspect

The LAPD released body camera footage of Frank Hernandez's use-of-force incident.

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The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) released body camera footage from Frank A. Hernandez, the officer who brutalized a trespassing suspect while his hands were behind his back.

Last week, Reason reported on the bystander footage and the LAPD's statement on the use-of-force incident. Hernandez and an unnamed officer responded to a trespassing call on April 27 in the Hollenbeck area. While the suspect's hands were behind his back, Hernandez punched him repeatedly. The suspect sustained "abrasions to his head and face" and Hernandez injured his hand.

Hernandez's lawyer told the Los Angeles Times that the suspect punched Hernandez in the chest during the confrontation. Body camera footage, which was released by the department on Tuesday, shows a different story.

The footage begins with audio of the 911 call reporting the man for camping on the property near a church. According to the LAPD's notes, the confrontation began after Hernandez and the other officer argued with the man about remaining in the area. Hernandez's body camera was not immediately activated, so the audio from early on in the encounter is missing. The rest of the incident is only captured via audio after Hernandez's camera was knocked off.

According to Hernandez's camera, the man walks away from both his tent and Hernandez while taking his bicycle with him. He stops on the sidewalk in front of the church and it becomes clear that he and Hernandez are exchanging words. When the audio activates, the men curse at each other as Hernandez tells him to turn around. The profane argument continues as Hernandez tells the man to put his hands behind his back and spread his feet.

Hernandez says, "Don't fight, man," while the man insists that he's not fighting. A couple of moments later, Hernandez shouts, "Fuck you, man," and begins to use force (captured by an onlooker here).

Hernandez continues to shout, "Fuck you," during the assault. At one point, Hernandez tells the other officer to use her taser.

Body camera footage from the unnamed second officer shows the incident from another angle with uninterrupted audio and video. Prior to Hernandez's assault, the second officer remarks, "They talk big shit until they get in the handcuffs."

Though the man initially reacts negatively to the officers placing their hands on him, he is seen complying with Hernandez's commands to turn around and spread his feet. During the assault, the man does not attempt to fight back. Instead, he covers his head with his hands.

A third voice is heard telling the second officer that she needs to calm Hernandez down. The second officer calls his name a couple of times before telling the man to put his hands behind his back.

Other officers eventually arrive on the scene. When bystanders try to advocate for the man, Hernandez tells them to "get inside" and claims that he was attacked.

The videos are available here.

Prior to the release of the footage, the Los Angeles Times reported that Hernandez had been involved in three shootings while on the job.

In one of the shootings, Hernandez shot an innocent bystander in the leg, possibly out of confusion during a chase. The LAPD brought charges against the bystander, which were eventually dropped. The bystander then accused the LAPD of fabricating the charges to cover for Hernandez, who was cleared in the shooting.

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  1. Hernandez’s body camera was not immediately activated

    That’s a paddlin’!

  2. “The suspect denigrated Officer Hernandez’s sense of self, and therefore deserved the beatdown,” said Hernandez’s lawyer. “If these motherfuckers think the LAPD is not out there to fuck them up, they’ve got another thing coming — make no mistake, you cocksuckers, the LAPD is here to fuck people up.”

    1. Respect the Law and LEO, Citizen.

  3. Well….the only question to ask is “Did the officer make it home without any boo-boos ?”

    1. No. The article clearly indicates that the suspect injured Hernandez’s fist with his face.

      1. Well…sounds like the vagrant law-breaker got just what he deserved then now doesn’t it !

    2. No he hurt his hand it’s right in the article.

  4. Hmmm…it seems that part of a police officer’s job entails meeting with members of the public who trespass, call the officer names, and hesitate to submit to arrest.

    If the cop had known that, he’d surely have gone into some line of work where the public is nicer to you.

    Also, am I correct in assuming the suspect is *white*? His white privilege should have protected him from a beatdown, what happened?

    1. White hispanic.

      Obviously a racially charged beating.

    2. If you did a cop, you’ll get a beating at the least. Just like dissing a gangbanger.

  5. Even with video evidence, Hernandez still broke the law and lied about it.

    He was that confident that other officers would be conspirators.

    It demonstrates that some police, the worst ones, cannot be trusted to operate their body cameras. They should operate continuously while on duty, the data stored by a third party.

    1. In the cloud. This already exists. It helps ensure continuity and continuing chain of posession.

      1. Plus it gives the hackers a good laugh.

  6. “Prior to the release of the footage, the Los Angeles Times reported that Hernandez had been involved in three shootings while on the job.

    In one of the shootings, Hernandez shot an innocent bystander in the leg, possibly out of confusion during a chase. The LAPD brought charges against the bystander, which were eventually dropped. The bystander then accused the LAPD of fabricating the charges to cover for Hernandez, who was cleared in the shooting.”

    1. Yep… and then police demand we call them all heroes.

  7. OT –

    Important if true: Russia alleged to have sent agents to kill Czech politicians with ricin.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/29/prague-district-mayor-claims-russia-trying-liquidate-using-ricin/

    Silly Russians, don’t you know how to carry out an assassination in Prague? You throw people out of windows. You used to know this stuff.

    1. Well, it is the Telegraph – – – – – – –

  8. Look, if you’re going to keep quality talent like that on staff, you’re going to have to put up with a few quirks.

  9. I do have to say that, based on what I was hearing, it is quite possible that the suspect did in fact, hit the officer. There is a sound that is likely to have been him striking the the officer in the chest.

    And, throughout the ensuing altercation, it sounds like the perp will not comply with being handcuffed and arrested. He is saying he’s not resisting but it sounds like he’s doing striking out at the officer in an attempt to prevent him from handcuffing him.

    I think it would be quite difficult to find a jury that is going to side with the perp in this case.

    I’m no cop lover. But hey Reason, this is not a clear cut case of police brutality.

    I’ve had to deal with trespassers on my property and use police assistance. I wish they had been aggressive about protecting my property like this officer was. Instead, they declined because they said the homeless had a right to park themselves on my lot and there was nothing they could do about code enforcement’s fine to me as property owner, for not keeping it cleaned up. (the squatters made the mess!) They told me it was a civil matter and I needed to deal with it on my own.

    Nothing a well aimed 12 gauge wouldn’t have resolved quickly.

    Finally, this is why I could never be a police officer. If some low life was giving me grief even when they are clearly trespassing, I’d have been issuing a beat down too. I abhor violence but, am willing to use it to protect life AND my property.

    1. Cops rarely use violence to protect life and property. They use violence because they enjoy hurting people.

    2. I’m sorry to hear the police won’t do the basic job of enforcing your rights, and that the code people penalize you for the police not enforcing your rights.

      What’s in dispute in this situation isn’t the suspect’s assholishess, but whether he was resisting arrest. Also whether the cop gave a correct account of the facts and circumstances around the arrest.

      1. (I’m going to guess that they *do* enforce your property taxes – that would be one law whose violation they won’t overlook.)

  10. That’s all well and good, but what does the police union say?

  11. Bet he retires with full pension and benefits.

    1. He might suddenly have PTSD from having to shoot those people a decade ago.

  12. “I think it would be quite difficult to find a jury that is going to side with the perp in this case.”

    Why? Since when is an LAPD cop more credible than a homeless person. Pretty sure you would be disqualified from that jury considering if your as forthcoming as you were here.

    That cop should have cameras on his front, back and sides with a drone accompanying him at all times.

    ” He is saying he’s not resisting …”
    Yeah, and the second cop does not taze him and no repeated shouts of “Stop resisting” undercut your assertion. The neighbor’s video looks like Hernandez was to blame. Hernandez was impatient and overly aggressive when going to cuff him. Not profesional and cannot even control his language.

    Let’s face it. This was another failure to respect athoritah. The perp kept calling him “dawg” when
    he should have been calling him, “Pig.” Pigs outrank dogs, in Animal Farm, and Hernandez wasn’t having it.

    LAPD treats everyone like a king.

  13. 911: So is this a house or an apartment?
    Caller: It is a vacant lot. The city made me tear down the house
    911: Sir, you did not answer my question – you must tell me if it is a house or an apartment!
    Caller: OK, it is a house (shrug)

  14. Dude has been involved in THREE shootings?

    My initial reaction was “why the hell is he still on the force??”

    Then I googled it.

    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/08/a-closer-look-at-police-officers-who-have-fired-their-weapon-on-duty/

    According to this Pew Research study, nearly 30% of all police officers say they have fired their weapon while on the job. Holy crap! I would have guessed maybe a tenth that many.

    So maybe being the trigger man 3 times in a career isn’t that statistically unlikely.

    But good lord, what is going on that more than a quarter of cops fire their weapon on the job?

    1. It could simply be due to location. I don’t know LA at all, but if it’s a bad part of town, that might be a reason. He’s also been on the force for 20 years, so it’s not like he’s popping someone every other year. One was in ’99, one in ’08 and one in ’10, and both the ’99 and ’10 ones seem reasonable on the face of it without digging around too much, the ’08 one is the exception.

      Not that the previous shootings mean that this was reasonable or not.

    2. But good lord, what is going on that more than a quarter of cops fire their weapon on the job?

      Dogs don’t shoot themselves, dontcha know.

    3. Pity that missed the main question that comes to my mind. If an officer has fired his weapon, in how many incidents has he? I suspect far more than a quarter of the officers who have fired their weapon have done it more than once.

    4. “But good lord, what is going on that more than a quarter of cops fire their weapon on the job?”

      Have you seen how bad they are at marksmanship? They make Stormtroopers look like Jerry Miculek. It takes half the force to land 1 effective shot in a lot of situations.

  15. My twin brother was a cop for 33 years. First on the Santa Barbara PD and then 30 years as an Air Force Security Forces commander retiring as a full colonel. In that job he worked with civilian police both here and in Europe. He often remarked that fully one-third of all police officers had no business being in a position of authority of any kind, let along being armed. That included his own troops.

    This guy is one the the one-third.

  16. “The whole good cop/bad cop question can be disposed of much more decisively. We need not enumerate what proportion of cops appears to be good or listen to someone’s anecdote about his Uncle Charlie, an allegedly good cop. We need only consider the following: (1) a cop’s job is to enforce the laws, all of them; (2) many of the laws are manifestly unjust, and some are even cruel and wicked; (3) therefore every cop has agreed to act as an enforcer for laws that are manifestly unjust or even cruel and wicked. There are no good cops.” ~Robert Higgs

  17. He committed contempt of cop, usually people get killed for that, so he got of easy.

  18. Police is not serving people they are serving their gods who ever they are this need to stop and it will stop force leads to uprising .
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