LOS ANGELES – A police officer who helped arrest a black man suspected of driving a stolen car was captured on video repeatedly hitting him with a flashlight after it appeared the man had surrendered.
The incident was under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department (search), the FBI and the Los Angeles County district attorney. It came a week after the LAPD said it had made reforms mandated by a federal consent decree in what the Justice Department called a "pattern and practice" of civil rights violations.
TV news footage shot from a helicopter showed the car chase end on a Compton (search) street and the suspect running away. After a short pursuit, the man appeared to surrender to an officer.
After several other officers arrived, the man was forced to the ground, where the videotape shows an officer striking him at least 10 times with a flashlight in the upper body.
Police said the man was not seriously hurt but complained of being struck in the head and suffering an injury to his nose.
Deputy Chief Earl Paysinger said an investigation by the department would "thoroughly unpeel the layers of this situation until we get to the truth."
But Assistant Chief Sharon Papa said the FBI (search) and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office had also opened investigations.
Police identified the man as 36-year-old Stanley Miller, of Compton. Miller was booked for investigation of grand theft auto and was jailed on $30,000 bail, said police spokesman, Officer Jason Lee. Miller was treated for "a very minor abrasion to his face," Lee said.
Law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that Miller's record included five prior convictions for various crimes, including burglary, attempted burglary and weapons charges.
The names and races of the officers involved were being withheld, but Paysinger said at least two had been taken off patrol and assigned to other duties.
"What I saw jeopardizes the work that we have done to try to build that bond of trust between the department and the community," Mayor Jim Hahn said.
A number of community activists expressed outrage and demanded justice.
"How much longer are we going to sit around and watch our brothers and sisters be treated like this," said Morris Griffin of the Los Angeles Coalition for Justice and Peace to End Police Brutality Committee.
Civil rights activist Najee Ali compared the incident to the 1991 beating of black motorist Rodney King.
"Here we go again," Ali said. "This is Rodney King all over again ... this has got to stop."
Four white Los Angeles officers were videotaped beating King. Deadly riots broke out a year later after the officers were acquitted of most charges.