Four officers on leave after video shows Calif. police kicking shoplifting suspect during struggle

Police in Southern California are investigating after a video captured four officers appearing to kick and punch a shoplifting suspect while they tried to detain him at a mall last week.

The incident happened at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store inside the Glendale Galleria on the evening of June 5, Glendale police said in a news release. The video, posted Wednesday on Twitter, shows two officers punching the suspect while he’s on the ground before a third officer joins in and kicks him in the face.

“I can’t breathe,” the suspect later shouts as one officer appears to press his hands down on the person’s neck.

In a news release issued Wednesday, the Glendale Police Department said that it’s aware of the video and that an investigation into what happened was “immediately initiated.” The four officers involved, some of whom were in plainclothes at the time, have been placed on administrative leave, the department said.

A screengrab from an incident of police brutality in Glendale, Calif. (via @Imposter_Edits
A screengrab from the June 5 incident in Glendale, Calif. (via @Imposter_Edits /Twitter)

While the video shows the suspect being restrained and arrested, it doesn’t show the moments leading up to the arrest. Police say the officers were responding to a report of a theft at a business inside the mall and got into a struggle with the suspect while they tried to detain him. “Stolen merchandise was recovered from the suspect and he was arrested for petty theft and resisting an officer by force,” the department said.

A man who says he recorded the video told local news outlet CBS2 that the officer who kicked the suspect “wasn’t even there to begin with.” He “ran up on this situation, and as soon as he arrived, he just decided I’m going to kick this kid in the face,” the man told the station.


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