Page last updated at 10:52 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 11:52 UK

US policeman 'kicks man in head'


A police officer is seen apparently kicking a suspect in the head - Footage courtesy of KTLA

A California police officer has been caught on camera apparently aiming a sharp kick at the head or neck of a suspect who has already surrendered.

The incident came at the end of a car chase through Los Angeles suburbs.

The footage shows the suspect, Richard Rodriguez, 23, trying to escape on foot, then lying down to surrender when he sees there is no escape.

One pursuing police officer kicks him, and another punches his side. The local police department is investigating.

The incident, in the suburb of Pico Rivera, was recorded by news helicopters and broadcast on local TV stations.


The footage shows Mr Rodriguez' car careering the wrong way down a street. It collides with a parked vehicle, and Mr Rodriguez races off, with the police in hot pursuit.

But he reaches a dead end, and - surrounded by high garden walls - decides to give himself up.

He lies down on the grass, arms and legs outstretched. A police officer races up and immediately kicks him in the head or neck. Another joins him in handcuffing Mr Rodriguez, and hits him in the side.

Another policeman arrives with a dog, and the officers exchange a "high-five" in celebration.

'Truly chilling'

Mr Rodriguez, a gang member, was detained for violating his parole and pending investigation into other charges.

But human rights group the American Civil Liberties Union called for the immediate suspension of the police officer who kicked him, and urged the Los Angeles County District Attorney to conduct a full and swift investigation.

Its southern California executive director, Ramona Ripson, said: "This video is truly chilling in the clarity with which it captures an egregious example of police abuse."

"Whatever the suspect may have done to justify his arrest, punishment in our system of justice is meted out by courts following fair trials, not by lone officers inflicting physical beatings as they see fit."

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