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LA police chief criticises officer who punched woman twice in face while holding baby | US News


The Los Angeles County sheriff has said an incident where a police officer punched a woman twice in the face while she held her three-week-old baby was “completely unacceptable”. 

Sheriff Robert Luna said in a news conference that he has sent the case to the county district attorney’s office, which will decide whether to file criminal charges against the deputy.

The FBI was also notified and the officer, who Sheriff Luna did not name, has been removed from field duty.

Bodycam footage captured the July 2022 traffic stop which shows officers stopping a car driving without headlights at night. They smelled alcohol in the car, and saw three babies who weren’t in car seats and were being held in their mother’s arms, Sheriff Luna said.

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The male driver was arrested on suspicion of driving on a suspended licence, driving under the influence of alcohol, and child endangerment. Four women in the car were held on suspicion of child endangerment.

During their arrests, an officer punched one woman twice in the face after she refused to let go of her three-week-old child.

Sheriff Luna said he believed the punching was “an isolated incident committed by an individual who will be held accountable”.

Most other employees are doing “incredible work on behalf of 10 million residents,” he added.

It was the second time in less than two weeks Sheriff Luna criticised his officers for their use of force against the public.

Sheriff Luna removed two other officers from field duty last week after a video emerged of one officer violently tackling a woman while she filmed a man being handcuffed, then pepper-spraying her in the face on 24 June.

Body camera footage shows an incident from 24 June where officers arrested a couple in a supermarket car park

In both cases, Sheriff Luna said he had only recently learned of the incidents. He said those involved in improper use of force could face anything from additional training to days off or dismissal.

In 2015, the Sheriff’s Department in Los Angeles settled federal allegations that deputies in those stations had engaged in excessive use of force and racially biased policing that included disproportionately stopping or searching black and latino people.

Federal authorities are also still monitoring reforms the department signed up to.

Sheriff Luna, a former Long Beach police chief, has vowed to overhaul the nation’s largest sheriff’s department since taking it over in December.


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