SAN FERNANDO (CBSLA) - An officer with the Los Angeles Police Department has been suspended after video emerged that shows him apparently punching a restrained suspect.
According to LAPD, the incident started Saturday when suspects carjacked a Honda in the San Fernando Valley, eventually crashing the vehicle at 2nd and Hubbard Streets in San Fernando. Two men were eventually arrested.
While the officer in question is now stripped of his duties, several witnesses are defending police, saying one suspect repeatedly spit, cursed and threatened officers.
"You're going to spit on somebody's face, when there's COVID? You just don't do something like that," said a witness identified only as Nikki, who claimed to have seen nearly everything. "Next thing you know, you just see him spit on the officer, and so when he spit on the officer one second...and police ended up hitting him."
A neighbor said the man seen in handcuffs was the driver and that he flashed a gun at her before running off.
The apparent punch is now the center of a complaint investigation by LAPD, though some witnesses said they're surprised the department is looking into the officer's actions.
"Porque ello esta hacidendo trabajo. Ello esta defendiendo la comunidad," another neighbor expressed, saying the officer was doing his job and defending the community.
LAPD Chief Michael Moore released a statement that said, "The images in the video are deeply disturbing and while we must wait for the investigation to be completed, the Department will act swiftly in any instance of excessive or unnecessary force."
So far, investigators have not identified the suspect or the now suspended officer.
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