On Monday evening, a Los Angeles Police Department officer struck a special needs woman in the face with his elbow—and it was all caught on video. The unidentified woman, who police say has mental health issues, was “not being combative” according to witnesses.
The incident happened on a Los Angeles Metro bus in nearby Bellflower, which is a predominantly Latino community just outside Downtown LA.
“They said get off the bus. She then started cursing at (the female deputy). You could tell she had special needs. After that they grab her, she curses him out, calls him a big shot, next thing you know he gives her a big shot,” explained Jermaine Green, who recorded the incident, to KNBC.
“I couldn’t believe it. He seen me taping. He looked up at the camera a few times, and he still hit her like that, and I can’t believe he didn’t try to diffuse the situation at all,” Green went on to say in an interview with KNBC.
Green claims the deputies then tried to intimidate him when he refused to hand over his cell phone.
“He comes to me and says you can be under arrest if you don’t give me that video,” Green said.
Green said the deputy then asked if he had any warrants.
“I said no, I’m a veteran, I just came back, I have six years, I have no record, and he said ‘We’ll see about that.’”
At a press conference on Wednesday Sheriff Lee Baca confirmed it was his understanding the woman was homeless and had a history of mental problems.
Baca also pointed out that the woman was not arrested. She is currently held on a 72-hour psychiatric hold.
This post has been corrected since publication.