Dozens of community activists rallied in front of Palmdale City Hall Thursday evening, outraged over the treatment of a man by L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies.
The incident occured on August 28 near Palmdale Boulevard and 35th Street.
“He’s a young Chicano man who was out with his girlfriend, when the police came up to him,” said Breanna Chico, a friend of 35-year-old Samuel Chavez,
Witness video shows the tail end of the incident as several deputies rush Chavez’s vehicle attempting to get him out.
One deputy is seen repeatedly punching Chavez.
It is unclear how the situation escalated but officials say they were conducting a DUI investigation.
As the suspect is on the ground, more deputies arrive and use force to subdue Chavez.
Chavez is then taken into custody, with his clothes torn and falling off him.
“He’s a buddy of mine. We used to play music together. He writes poetry. He has a daughter. He’s like a pretty gentle soul. That’s how I would describe him,” Chico said.
“Sam said ‘I was parked. We were parked, they did not pull us over. We were parked, and they started beating me, for no reason, because we’re black and brown. That’s why they beat us,’” Glynis Kilpatrick, the mother of Chavez’s girlfriend, who was a passenger in the car, said.
Chavez’s girlfriend was also taken into custody. She is seen sitting in the passenger seat filming the arrest.
“When I called the watch commander, he said ‘your daughter pushed a deputy sheriff.’ I’m like, ‘my daughter? She’s scared to kill a fly,’” Kilpatrick said.
Activists say the latest use of force was not justified, calling it a pattern of abuse by Antelope Valley deputies.
“Once someone refuses to comply, that doesn’t mean they should get beat up or terrorized,” said Giovanni Christon-Pope, an activist. “They swore an oath to protect their community and to abide by the laws of that community. And terrorizing someone is not in accordance with those beliefs.”
The Palmdale’s Sheriff’s station put out a statement, saying “Due to the active investigation, we are unable to offer further comment at this time. The Use of Force will be subject of a full, complete, thorough, and objective investigation.”
As the investigation continues, Chavez’s friends say he has been released and is recovering.