Glendale, CA -- Four Glendale police officers were caught on camera Saturday kicking and beating a teenager who was suspected of petty theft. Those four officers have now been placed on administrative leave while the department is investigating.
The incident happened at the Glendale Galaria shopping center around 7pm Saturday when officers responded to calls a young man was shoplifting. A bystander inside Dick’s Sporting Goods began recording the three plain clothes police officers and one uniformed officer attempt to make the arrest.
The three plain clothes police officers were already apparently attempting to apprehend the young man when the video begins. A female officer was holding his legs and the two male officers were striking him in the face. Shortly afterward a uniformed officer arrived and immediately kicked the boy in the head while he was laying on his back. The beating of the 17-year-old hardly seemed justified to many who later witnessed the video, including the boy’s family. His sister told reporters:
It was really hard to watch. We got traumatized. We have, like, all of the video stuck in our head.
It is unclear from the available footage how the altercation began, whether or not the unidentified teenager knew they were police officers, or whether or not he felt threatened by being accosted by three adults not in uniform. At any rate, bystanders were shocked and can be heard gasping in shock as the uniformed officer arrived and kicked the boy in the head. One bystander stated:
The officer that wasn’t even there to begin with, that ran up on this situation, and as soon as he arrived, he just decided ‘I’m going to kick this kid in the face’.
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One officer can be heard yelling at the boy to “turn around on your face”, adding something about ‘police’ (inaudible). For years TFTP has reported on such incidents concluding such ‘pain compliance’ as it’s known in law enforcement lingo rarely has the desired effect.
According to the LA Times, the police department has opened an investigation:
The department said that the officers would be placed on leave while it investigates the arrest and that it’s looking for witnesses who were inside the mall or the store who can provide more information. ‘Glendale police officers are held to a high standard and we work hard to maintain the trust of our community,’ the department said. ‘We take these types of incidents very seriously.’
Practically speaking, who can think clearly as they are being punched, kicked and held down on the ground, at least clearly enough to comply with lawful commands?
Not even in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) are fighters allowed to kick a downed opponent in the head. It is considered extremely dangerous to a fighter’s health. So why do we allow our police officers to do so, especially officers who are completely unaware of the situation leading up to police contact such as the uniformed officer was in this case?
Glendale Police are reportedly investigating the incident while the officers are on leave. When police officers are on leave, which we have witnessed can take up to a year or longer, the officers are given their full salaries. In other words the officers get paid time off, what some police accountability activists consider a paid vacation for violating citizens’ rights.