2 arrested for videotaped L.A. freeway beating
California Highway Patrol spokesperson Sgt. Denise Joslin talks to the media at a news conference Wednesday June 20, 2012, about the videotape of a June 12, 2012, beating on a transition road to Interstate 5 south of 7th Street in Los Angeles. / AP Photo/Nick Ut
(AP) LOS ANGELES - Two Los Angeles men were arrested on suspicion of assaulting a man who was beaten and kicked in the head during a videotaped road rage freeway attack, authorities said Thursday.
David Mendez, 21, and Edras Ramirez, 27, turned themselves in to a California Highway Patrol investigative services office in Hollywood at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, CHP Officer Ming Hsu said.
Hsu said it was unclear why the men surrendered. However, a video (Warning: graphic content) of the June 12 freeway fight clearly showed the faces of two men who grappled with the victim and also had the license plate of the getaway car.
The video became a minor sensation after being posted on YouTube and it was widely aired Wednesday by television news stations.
The CHP said it received reports of a fight on a transition road to the northbound Interstate 5 in East Los Angeles on the afternoon of June 12 but officers arriving minutes later found everyone had left.
Nobody involved in the fight went to a hospital or contacted the CHP.
"We had no reports, no victim, until this (video) surfaced," Hsu said. "So without this video we more than likely wouldn't have heard about it."
A third man who is seen standing by in the video was not arrested.
CHP investigators only learned about the video this week after it had drawn more than 100,000 viewings on YouTube.
Taken from a passing car, the video showed three men confronting a man in a red shirt next to two cars parked in a freeway lane.
The red-shirted man and a bald man begin to fight and a third man jumps in. The red-shirted man is dragged to the ground and flails until he suddenly appears to collapse.
Both of his attackers then take turns kicking him in the head as he lays either dazed or unconscious on the pavement.
They and a third man then drive off.
Initially, it wasn't clear whether the video was real or staged.
However, a victim identified as Jerry Patterson came forward Wednesday.
"I made a simple driving mistake and cut them off unintentionally, and it just escalated from there," Patterson told KCAL-TV. "It just spiraled out of control, and I felt I didn't have any choice either get beat up in my car or get out and fight."
He said he had little recollection of the incident.
"I remember the initial fight," he said. "I don't remember being knocked out or being kicked or any of that."
Patterson told KABC-TV he had suffered a concussion.
"Twenty-20 hindsight stay in the car, call authorities. Don't let your ego get in the way. It's not worth it," he said.
CHP investigators don't know who recorded the video, Hsu said.
The video indicates that the man didn't call 911 or try to stop the attack but it was unclear whether he might face any charges.
California has no law requiring people to intervene in violent or crime situations, although it does protect good Samaritans who step in, Hsu said.
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