GLENDALE (CBSLA) – After video provided to CBS2 / KCAL9 by a witness showing three plainclothes policemen from Glendale beating a teenager suspected of shoplifting, with another uniformed policeman entering the fray and kicking the teenager in the face, the four police officers were put on administrative leave.
“It was really hard to watch. We were traumatized. We have, like, the whole video stuck in our heads, ”Melissa Navarette, the teenage victim’s sisters, told CBSLA’s Kandiss Crone.
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The incident happened at Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Glendale Galleria on Saturday night around 7 p.m.
A man who was shopping in the store when the events unfolded recorded the incident on his cell phone.
“The officer who wasn’t even there at first, who rushed into this situation, and as soon as he got there he just decided that I’m going to kick that kid in the face,” said the witness.
Officers, some of whom were assigned to the mall, had received reports of petty theft in another part of the gallery.
“Officers responded and located a suspect matching the description and eventually contacted that suspect inside Dick’s Sporting Goods,” said the staff member. Glendale PD Christian Hauptmann said.
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Civil rights lawyer Connie Rice watched the video and said there was no doubt that the officers’ behavior went against the training they had received to apprehend a suspect.
“It’s worse than a brutal arrest. I saw better tactics and better discipline in a bar fight, ”said Rice. “Apparently he doesn’t have a gun. So, he does not pose any kind of imminent threat of lethal force or bodily harm to anyone around him. “
The teenager sustained both eye and head injuries. Family members of the victim hope the video reinforces the need for additional training and improved measures to prevent similar situations. In the meantime, however, the family said they were focusing on the teenager’s recovery.
Police said they recovered stolen goods from the teenager and arrested him for theft and forcibly resisting an officer.
Department officials also released a statement that said:
“The Glendale Police Department is aware of the video which captured an incident involving
officers during an arrest at Glendale Galleria on June 5, 2021. An investigation into the incident, understood all actions taken by officers during the arrest process, was immediately initiated and officers involved were placed on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation. Glendale Police Officers are held to a high standard and we work hard to maintain the trust of our community.
We take these types of incidents very seriously. Appropriate action will be taken following the investigation.
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Glendale Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident and can provide additional details or a video to contact service at 818-548-4911.