Bodycam footage released in violent encounter involving LAPD officer and alleged trespasser in Boyle Heights

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The Los Angeles Police Department released bodycam footage Tuesday of a violent encounter involving an officer and an alleged trespasser in Boyle Heights a week after cellphone video of the incident surfaced online.

The encounter on April 27, in which an officer repeatedly punched a man on a sidewalk by a church in the 2400 block of Houston Street, prompted a use-of-force investigation.

The officer, whose name has not been disclosed, remains “assigned to home,” according to LAPD. The trespassing suspect was released from LAPD’s Hollenbeck area station pending further investigation.

The incident briefing video from the department begins with a 911 call from a property owner reporting a trespasser on a vacant lot.

The caller said a couple was squatting on his property and described a “really aggressive” man.

The video then shows bodycam footage from the male and female officers who responded to the scene.

The officers approach a man by what appears to be a small encampment on the lot and asks him to leave.

“What’s up man? You gotta go brother, you can’t live here,” the male officer tells him.

“This is private property,” the female officer says.

The man then mutters “…sneak up on me.” When asked what he said, he tells the male officer: “I said next time you sneak up on me, it won’t be the same, my boy.”

“I’m a cop here, and someone called us to be here. Yeah, you need to get out of here,” the male officer responds.

The man, who continues to talk to the officer using expletives and a derogatory word, eventually walks off the lot.

When the two officers continue to watch him from behind, the man says he lives in the area.

“You don’t live here anymore,” the male officer says.

Soon, the officers walk toward the man. The male officer tells him to turn around.

The man verbally resists.

When the male officer tries to detain him by a residential gate, the man says, “Don’t push up on me.”

The male officer begins to strike the man repeatedly on the head, from behind, for about 20 seconds as the female officer stands behind them while holding up a Taser.

The pair calls for backup, and more officers arrive shortly.

“You grabbed my hand,” the male officer says. “How’d my finger get like that? He wasn’t cooperating.”

At some point, neighbors are heard telling the officers about the man, “He’s the most friendly guy. He’s a really good guy.”

“Get back inside!” an officer tells them.

According to LAPD, the male officer sustained injuries on his hand, while the trespassing suspect suffered abrasions to his head and face. The man refused medical treatment, police said.

“I’ll not pass judgment on this case until all the evidence is collected, witnesses are interviewed and the investigation is complete,” LAPD Chief Michael Moore said in the video release. “I’ve taken steps to protect the interests of the public by removing the officer’s peace officer powers and I’ve assigned him to home pending the outcome of this investigation.”

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