The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has opened a criminal investigation into one of its own deputies after he was seen on video stomping a man with his foot.
“The investigation is being done by the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau at the request of the unit commander,” said sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore, adding that such investigations are rare.
Whitmore would not name the deputy, but said he is a 24-year veteran assigned to the department’s transit bureau, which patrols MTA subways and buses. The incident occurred around 11 a.m. Friday in downtown Los Angeles. Whitmore said a man hailed deputies after a man allegedly sexually assaulted his wife. He said when deputies confronted suspect Alexis Husmario Torres, he became uncooperative and fought with them.
Video shot by Telemundo shows a deputy pushing his foot down on a subdued Torres. Whitmore said the department opened its criminal investigation at the request of the deputy’s supervisors, and before the video surfaced.
“The deputy has been relieved of duty, with pay,” Whitmore said.
Torres, 31, is in jail after being arrested for sexual battery and assault on a peace officer. Whitmore said he is in the mental health unit of the jail.
Sheriff’s investigators are asking people who witnessed the incident to come forward with more information. Anonymous tips can be filed by calling 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting "TIPLA" plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or going to the Crime Stoppers site.