A man who witnesses say was “swinging at people” and “out of control” was beaten with batons by police in Long Beach, Calif. Monday, leaving the cops facing scrutiny after a security camera video of the beating was posted on YouTube and then shown on television.
Witnesses and police say the man, 46-year-old Porfirio Santos-Lopez of Long Beach, was acting violently when police moved to subdue him.
“That individual seemed to be irrational. He was combative,” Long Beach Police Sgt. Aaron Eaton told KTLA News is Los Angeles. “In the video that is on YouTube he can be seen kicking at the officers.”
A video capture from the video is pictured at right. The full video can be seen below.
Police showed KTLA another surveillance video from a nearby store that allegedly shows Santos-Lopez’s violent behavior immediately prior to the police beating, but that video has not yet surfaced in public. The police defended their use of force against Santos-Lopez, saying they received two 911 calls about him.
Santos-Lopez, the police say, started a fight with two individuals before police arrived, then attacked the cops who showed up to bring him under control. They say he admitted to them that he was under the influence of both alcohol and methamphetamine at the time of the incident.
But Santos-Lopez’s family members say he is mentally ill and they have been trying for months to get help for him. Police say they were unaware that Lopez had a mental illness.
Santos-Lopez was taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center after the incident where, according to family members, he was treated for broken bones and a collapsed lung. On the video, onlookers can be heard exclaiming that the police knocked the man’s teeth out, while police loudly order Santos-Lopez to “get on your stomach!”
According to Sgt. Eaton, Santos-Lopez kicked a baton out of an officer’s hand and then kicked the police officer in the head.
SOURCES: NBC 4 Los Angeles, KTLA Los Angeles, KABC Los Angeles, Long Beach Press-Telegram, YouTube