A video that surfaced Sunday depicting the violent arrest of a looting suspect by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in Compton has sparked outrage among some, including the city’s mayor.
In the video, a man can be seen lying face-down on the ground as two deputies hold him down.
The man can be heard saying “I’m on the ground,” just before a third deputy rushed to his side and strikes the man in the body with his knee five times, the footage shows. Another deputy begins throwing punches, as well.
Dalvin Price was ultimately arrested on suspicion of assault on a peace officer, which he denies.
“From my point of view, I was beaten for reasons that didn’t make sense,” he said. “I feel like if they just would have arrested me and did what they had to do, things would have worked out well.”
The incident came as the region was roiled by mass protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Four former police officers have been fired, charged and arrested in Floyd’s death.
Compton Mayor Aja Brown said she was deeply disturbed by what she was on the video of Price’s arrest and has asked for an expedited investigation to be completed within two weeks.
“While the young man is on the ground, he is repeatedly heard saying, ‘I’m on the ground,'” she said. “Nonethelss, the vicious beating continues until they discover they are being observed by a young woman filming the incident.”
“We will not tolerate the willful violation of rights in our community by the hand of anyone, including law enforcement,” Brown said.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed that a use-of-force investigation was underway.
The video was taken during the arrest of a suspect who was believed to be among a group looting at a CVS pharmacy, he said.
“I think we need to understand the bigger context of what happened at that scene in Compton,” the sheriff said. “A deputy, unfortunately, was struck by a vehicle of one of the looters trying to flee.”
“This is a prime example of why we need body-worn camera. It would have given us a different perspective and the entire conflict from start to finish,” he said.
The sheriff has recently criticized the L.A. County Board of Supervisors for cutting department funding, which he said will harm the body camera program.