LAPD officer captured on video punching handcuffed suspect after being spit on, witnesses say

A Los Angeles Police Department officer has been relieved of his police powers after being captured on video punching a carjacking suspect who was handcuffed to a gurney after crashing the vehicle into a wall, but witnesses told FOX 11 that the suspect spit on the officer prior to the assault.

The incident happened Saturday following a carjacking incident in the Mission area of the San Fernando Valley. Two suspects were taken into custody after a chase that ended with a crash in the city of San Fernando, the LAPD reported.

Witnesses told FOX 11 that one of the suspects became aggressive towards firefighters and officers.

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"They had already put him on a gurney and they were in the middle of tying him down as he was screaming his head off, he was telling him to take off his badge, and next thing you know you just see him spit on the officer," the witness said. "So when he spit on the officer, that's when… one second and the police ended up hitting him."

Once the LAPD learned of the video on Sunday, the department immediately initiated a complaint investigation.

According to the LAPD, the involved officer has been assigned home and his peace officer powers suspended pending the results of the investigation.

In a statement, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said, "The images in the video are deeply disturbing and while we must wait for the investigation to be completed, the department will act swiftly in any instance of excessive or unnecessary force."

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