Long Beach, Calif., Police Chief James McDonnell says it’s too early to make any judgments about a man who was repeatedly struck by officers with batons and shocked with a stun gun while lying on his back.
Police say the man was combative and had attacked another man before his arrest.
McDonnell on Wednesday acknowledged video of the incident was “disturbing” and said “each action of the officers will be evaluated fully.” He is vowing a vigorous investigation.
A nearly five-minute cellphone video shows Long Beach officers hitting Porfirio Santos-Lopez in the legs six times Monday.
Police, meanwhile, say surveillance video shows Santos-Lopez punching another man during a street argument before the arrest.
Sgt. Aaron Eaton told KNBC-TV that Santos-Lopez, 46, punched arriving officers, fell down, refused to turn onto his stomach and kicked officers, knocking one in the head.
According to KNBC, Santos-Lopez told authorities he was drunk and high on methamphetamine. He was treated at a hospital for injuries received either before or during the arrest.
Santos-Lopez’s girlfriend Lee Ann Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that her boyfriend had recently shown signs of mental illness. She said he has recently acted paranoid and out-of-sorts but did not deserve the beating.
She said Santos-Lopez has a drinking problem and that she had asked police several times to get him psychiatric treatment. Police officials were unable to immediately verify her claims.
Santos-Lopez will be booked into jail after his release from the hospital, Hernandez said.
Police say the incident is under investigation. The officers involved in the incident remained on duty Wednesday.