LA Police Chief
Four Los Angeles police officers are under scrutiny after one Tasered a handcuffed woman while joking with others at the scene, according to interviews and law enforcement records.
The video taken of the December 2010 arrest shows Officer Jorge Santander firing the Taser without warning and later displaying a Superman logo he wore on his chest beneath his uniform, according to records. Off camera, another officer is heard laughing and singing.
Santander then appeared to lie about the incident repeatedly in written reports. The three other officers who witnessed him stun the woman corroborated his version of events when first questioned and failed to tell supervisors that a video of the encounter existed, records show.
According to a memo written by a prosecutor in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, the incident began when two officers, Steven Bauman and Jose Lepe, were dispatched to a parking lot behind a Hollywood nightclub around 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 4, 2010, when a couple reported a drunk woman inside their car…
The officers requested a female officer be sent to assist, which is when Santander arrived with his partner, Georgeta Buruiana, who searched the woman, records showed. For reasons not explained in a D.A. memo of the event, Santander and Buruiana would transport the woman to a nearby station for booking.
Bauman had turned on a personal video camera and focused it on Santander and Buruiana as they led the woman over to their patrol car. She resisted getting in — something she had also done when Lepe tried to seat her in the back of his patrol car.
As before, officers shoved the woman into the seat, but she managed to stand back up. Without warning, Santander placed a Taser against the woman’s torso and fired it twice, according to the prosecutor’s account of the video. The woman fell face-down onto the seat…
When a sergeant arrived at the scene, Bauman turned off the camera. Santander told the supervisor simply that he had used the Taser on the woman twice because she had kicked him and had tried to kick out the windows of the patrol car. The three other officers corroborated that version of the encounter and none mentioned Bauman’s video, the memo said.
Sometime later in the day, Santander wrote an account of firing his Taser for the woman’s arrest report. In it he said he had fired the Taser only twice and warned the woman that she would be stunned before firing the Taser the first time. He also alleged that she had kicked him in the chest with such force that she knocked him off balance. Both claims — about the warning and being knocked off balance — were proven false by the video, the prosecutor wrote.
So, what does Protect and Serve mean to cops who taser someone in handcuffs? Folks wonder why many have pressed for civilian review boards for decades – while police departments continue the same crap coverups.
No one investigated any of this until the patrolman who records the incident asked an officer higher up if he had seen the recording, yet. The officer didn’t know what he was talking about.