Los Angeles: Today at his monthly media availability, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton announced the Department has launched an investigation into an arrest made by two Hollywood Police Officers on August 11, 2006. The arrest was captured on videotape and is circulating on the internet. Chief Bratton provided the following preliminary information about the incident:
While on patrol, Officers Patrick Farrell and Alexander Schlegel recognized William Cardenas, 23, a local gang member, who was wanted on a felony warrant for receiving stolen property. When the officers tried to arrest him, Cardenas ran from them. The officers were able to knock Cardenas to the ground, near Gordon Street and Fountain Avenue.
After a struggle, the officers arrested Cardenas. The officers included a summary of the force used in their arrest report. Their summary included a description of Officer Farrell striking Cardenas’ face. Following LAPD policy involving non-categorical use-of-force incidents (i.e. uses of force that do not involve serious injury, or life-threatening force), sergeants investigated the reported use of force. The investigation included interviewing witnesses, some of whom reported seeing the officers and Cardenas fighting. One witness described seeing an officer punch Cardenas in the upper torso.
Based on the LAPD's preliminary investigation, the involved officers and the investigating supervisors were not aware that an uninvolved witness recorded part of the arrest on a video camera. The footage was first made public September 14, 2006, during Cardenas’ preliminary hearing on the charges of resisting arrest and the felony warrant. The Cardenas defense showed the video in court; nevertheless, the judge held over Cardenas for trial.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division (JSID) provided the video footage to LAPD. A complaint investigation by Professional Standards Bureau was immediately opened. Both officers have been assigned to administrative duties, pending the investigation.
Upon completion, the criminal investigation will be referred to the District Attorney's office for their review and action. The Los Angeles Police Commission's Inspector General, Andre Birotte, is also monitoring the investigations, which include an administrative investigation by the Professional Standards Bureau to determine if LAPD policy or procedures were violated.
"Police work is not always pretty," Chief Bratton offered. "But in my 36 years in law enforcement, I’ve learned not to make a judgement until I have all the facts." Bratton added, "All of the provisions and safe guards under the Consent Decree were followed. We now have to let the process follow its course."
The District Attorney's office charged Cardenas with two counts of resisting arrest. Prosecutors also noted a gang enhancement, which could result in a stiffer penalty, should Cardenas be found guilty of the charges.