Los Angeles, CA -- A visit to the LA county fair turned into a police brutality nightmare for Christian Aguilar, who was beaten and tased for doing nothing other than filming the police. Now, because someone bravely decided to film that nightmare, the police who caused it are being held responsible.
Three officers with the Pomona Police Department were indicted Thursday for alleged civil rights violations that occurred during the arrest of then-16-year-old Christian Aguilar.
According to CBS LA, Sgt. Michael Neaderbaomer, Officer Chad Jensen and Officer Prince Hutchinson pleaded not guilty to multiple counts, including use of force, witness tampering, and falsifying records, all stemming from the September 16, 2015, incident.
The officers allegedly wrote a false police report to “justify the use of force” against Aguilar, who was not named in the federal indictment. The report claims the teen came within arm’s length of another officer who was arresting a suspect and then attempted to punch Jensen in the face, while trying to “incite unrest,” reports CBS.
However, none of the alleged incitement of unrest was apparent in the video, thus the indictment of three cops.
In 2015, after the Pomona Police officers beat the teen, they maliciously charged him, his parents, and the uninvolved man who filmed the boy's assault.
According to the man who filmed the beating, Robert Hansen, police confiscated his camera, arrested him, and edited the video before submitting it for the investigation.
Eventually, all charges against Hansen, Aguilar, and Aguilar's parents were dropped -- but not before cops lied to cover the incident up. The video below, however, does not lie.
As he watched his parents get arrested, Aguilar merely attempted to film the interaction. His freedom of speech was then met with heavy police violence.
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According to a report by Photography is Not a Crime at the time,
As is clear in the video, Aguilar didn’t ever challenge the first officer on the scene’s use of inappropriate force, when Officer Jensen smashed his head into a fence – instead putting his hands at his sides and thrusting his chin forward in a posture of frustrated readiness.
Officer Jensen thrust his forearm into Aguilar’s face twice at maximum thrust, before Pomona Officers Hutchinson and Correa arrived.
Hutchinson thoughtfully held the teenager along with Jensen, and that’s when Pomona Officer landed a devastating blow, with his long black baton to Christian Aguilar’s knee, sending the teenager to the ground.
As the three grown men beat the teenager, another Pomona Officer came over an discharged his taser near the teen to strike terror.
“In the criminal trial, after watching the officers’ explanations of the discrepancies between the full video and their police reports unravel during cross examination,” said the family lawyer David Gammill, of the Los Angeles based Geragos Law Firm, and that, “The judge dismissed Christian’s criminal case before the defense ever had to call a single witness.”
“It’s heartbreaking to see your kid suffer like that,” said Aguilar. “And then to know that these guys swore an oath are (are) deliberately lying to cover it up.”
According to the Geragos firm, Ignacio Aguilar was a highly regarded cardiac nurse and was forced out of his job by the slanderous allegations. Christian Aguilar’s mother Eraine Aguilar has been in law enforcement since 2001 and was sickened by the conduct of Pomona PD.
When Eraine Aguilar went to the Pomona police department to file a complaint, she says she was intimidated as well.
The family filed a lawsuit against the Pomona police department and the city has paid out $500,000 to settle it.
“If convicted, the charges of excessive force carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, the charges of witness tampering and falsifying records carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and the charges of false statements to federal agents carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison,” the indictment reads.
“I’m glad the FBI flashed their light down our road to brighten it up,” Ignacio Aguilar said.