LOS ANGELES - A video capturing the arrest of 34-year-old Alejandro Hernandez, who is an amputee, has sparked controversy as conflicting narratives emerge from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and Hernandez's family. The footage shows one deputy holding Hernandez in a chokehold while another punches him in the face during the attempt to handcuff him in East Los Angeles.
According to witnesses in the neighborhood who recorded the arrest, Hernandez was merely cleaning his car and not engaging in any suspicious activity. They believe he was racially profiled, leading to the aggressive response from the deputies.
Alejandro's mother, Gabriela Ortega, expressed her distress, emphasizing her son's vulnerability due to his amputated leg. She disputed the claim of resisting arrest, stating that the video clearly shows her son being repeatedly punched.
In response, the LASD released a statement asserting that deputies observed Hernandez walking in the street, appearing to conceal something in his waistband. The department claimed that Hernandez resisted arrest, leading to the use of force. They reported the recovery of a loaded 9mm firearm from inside his pants, leading to charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and battery on a police officer.
The LASD maintains that the case is under investigation. Both Hernandez and the involved deputies received medical treatment for their injuries at a hospital.
Hernandez's family tells FOX 11 this isn't the first time the 34-year-old had a tense encounter with law enforcement.
"They pulled over my dad and had a gun drawn on him for having no license plate on his far," his son told FOX 11.
Ortega said she's had enough.
"As a mother, I'm going to do everything in my power that it takes to get these deputies held accountable," she said. "It's just not right."
Below is the full statement released by LASD:
"On November 20, 2023, at approximately 3:50 p.m., deputies assigned to the East Los Angeles Station were patrolling the 3500 block of Floral Drive in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles. Deputies observed a male Hispanic adult walking in the street, and they recognized him from prior contacts as an active gang member. The deputies observed the male Hispanic moving his hands towards his waistband consistent with someone who was possibly attempting to conceal something. As deputies made contact with the male Hispanic, they felt a firearm in his waistband. As the deputies attempted to handcuff the male Hispanic and recover the firearm, he actively resisted, and a use of force occurred. The male Hispanic was ultimately detained and a loaded 9mm firearm was recovered from inside his pants.
The male Hispanic and both deputies were treated at local hospitals for injuries sustained during the altercation. The male Hispanic was arrested for ex-felon in possession of a firearm and battery on a police officer.
As with any use of force incident a comprehensive review will be conducted to determine if department policies and procedures were followed."