Los Angeles, CA — A disturbing video was submitted to the Free Thought Project earlier this month that showed a LAPD officer Frank A. Hernandez whaling on an innocent man. The video has since prompted an internal investigation for misconduct and excessive use of force. After the cellphone footage went viral, the LAPD was forced to respond this week by releasing the body camera footage.
Naturally, after the first video came out, the apologist crowd released their canned responses of “the video doesn’t show what led up to this.” The body camera, however, does. Just as many people thought it would, the body camera footage backs up the cellphone video and shows the cop lost his cool and snapped on an innocent man. The police chief even agrees.
Chief Michel Moore directed the released of the footage and told the LA Police Commission Tuesday he didn’t expect the body camera recordings to change minds about what last week’s cellphone video showed.
“I, along with many of you, watched the third party video that was released last week, and I have serious concerns,” Moore said Tuesday. “Any use of force, justified or not, is difficult to watch. However, this one is disturbing.”
“This incident is deeply disturbing. I don’t believe what’s shown here will change the description of (this incident) by me or others,” Moore said.
According to police, the incident unfolded on April 27. The video shows two officers with LAPD’s Hollenbeck Division reportedly responding to an alleged trespassing report. In the 911 call, an unidentified man tells cops that Richard Castillo was sitting in a vacant lot, so police were dispatched to remove him — despite the fact that Castillo was harming no one.
LAPD reports that when officers arrived on the scene, they encountered Castillo and told him to leave the property. As the newly released body camera footage shows, Castillo complies and walks away.
As he is walking away, Castillo tells the officers that he has family in the area, but Hernandez does not believe him. Within seconds of their peaceful verbal exchange, Hernandez moves in to handcuff Castillo — for apparently no reason.
If you read the LAPD report, it states that the officer received injuries to his hand. However, those injuries were from the repeated punches to the innocent man’s head, not from the innocent man attacking the cop.
“During the course of the investigation a physical altercation occurred between the suspect and one of the officers, resulting in the officer receiving minor injuries to his hand. The suspect had abrasions to his head and face but refused medical attention,” LAPD said in a statement.
Also, there was no altercation, the attack was one-sided and unprovoked.
As the video shows, Castillo is entirely compliant. He is seen putting his hands behind his back and allowing cops to handcuff him. Then, without cause or provocation, Hernandez shoves Castillo into the fence, causing him to turn around and ask why he is doing this.
“Don’t fight,” the officer tells Castillo.
“Ain’t nobody fighting,” Castillo responds. “Ain’t nobody getting crazy but you.”
“Put your hands behind your back, let’s go,” Hernandez says to Castillo. Within seconds of Hernandez touching Castillo’s hands, the video shows Hernandez’s body worn video camera is knocked to the ground by the officer’s frantic flailing.
Hernandez’s partner’s camera continues to capture the disturbing scene unfold.
“The f*** you think I am,” Castillo says. “You’re going to f***ing punk me. You f****ing f*****!”
“Don’t fight man,” Hernandez says.
“Ain’t nobody fighting,” Castillo says as he stands facing the church fence with his hands behind his back. “You keep on man handling me I’m gonna f*** you up!”
Within seconds Hernandez has thrown the first punch and repeatedly yells, “F*** you man,” as he slugs Castillo in the head and body.
“F*** you b****,” Officer Hernandez says as he swings at Castillo.
Amazingly enough, Castillo does not fight back and only crouches out of the way in an attempt to defend his head from the cop’s fists. As the cop continues to pound the compliant innocent man’s head, the video shows his partner entirely unconcerned that her partner is violating an innocent man’s rights.
Hernandez tells his partner to taser Castillo, but she refuses likely because the man is not a threat at all.
When two other officers arrive and handcuff Castillo, the officer yells, “you grabbed my hand.”
But no such hand grabbing was seen on video.
When a woman from a nearby residence says, “Guys, he’s the most friendly guy, alright?” the officer responds to her, “get inside…he f—— attacked me.”
Yet another lie.
Showing the entire unnecessary nature of the detainment and subsequent beating is the fact that after the supervisor arrived on the scene and watched the video provided by the witness, the innocent man was let go without charges.
On Monday, Castillo filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles in federal court alleging he was the victim of excessive force.
Castillo’s complaint says that, “the male DOE officer began to violently strike Plaintiff in his face, head, and body, despite the fact that Plaintiff was compliant, cooperative, non-resisting, non-dangerous, unarmed, and non-threatening.”
The complaint also accuses the officer of spitting into Castillo’s face during the attack.
Below is the video. Do you think officer Hernandez’ attack was warranted? Or, better yet, do you think officer Hernandez should still be a cop after you watch this video?