Facebook Removes Video of Long Beach Police Using ‘Less than Lethal’ Force on Man with Hands Up

WARNING: The video shared below shows  imagery and language that might be offensive to some readers.

Last night, Facebook user Riley GFrequent shared a perturbing video which appears to show Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) shoot an unarmed man while he had his hands above his head and his pants down.

The incident took place on the north side of 2nd Street at Santa Ana, near the Subway and was removed by Facebook as commenters began tagging both the LBPD and pro-police groups. Since it was recorded on Facebook Live by Riley, Facebook was able to control its public access.

We, however, saved the video before it was removed; it can be viewed below. Any witnesses to violence, police or otherwise, are encouraged to film the video directly to their phone before posting it to social media in order to preserve it for posterity’s sake.

By the timing of Riley’s video, the man—42-year-old Long Beach resident Joel Peterson—appears to already have his pants dropped, getting up from his knees and standing in boxers, pacing with his hands up. It was then that supposed shots were fired and a K9 released on the man, prompting outcries from the hoard of onlookers witnessing the shooting.

“I showed up late in the scene,” Riley said. “In the video, you can hear a lady saying they stripped him down to his boxers with about 20 to 30 cops around him… 2nd Street was blocked off both ways. He seemed mentally ill or in a psychosis—but with no weapons on him. They fired shots, or what seemed like bullets or bean bags—it was hard to tell because the dog attacked him after which left blood. He was screaming on the ground and they shoved him inside of the back of a vehicle until the paramedics came. I left due to the crowd getting wild.”

LBPD spokesperson Bradley Johnson praised the officer’s use of less-than-lethal force, stating, “Officers did a remarkable job de-escalating the situation and used less lethal force to end the situation as peacefully as possible. The outcome could have been much different based on the suspect’s actions. The video does not capture the entire incident.”

According to Johnson, police appeared after calls of a man wielding a gun on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore began to show up at headquarters.

The subject was walking in the middle of the street pointing a possible handgun at passing vehicles,” Johnson said. “When officers arrived on scene, the subject would not comply with their lawful orders. Less than lethal tools were used along with a K9 unit to safely take the subject into custody. Replica firearm was recovered. He was transported to a local hospital for minor injuries. The investigation is ongoing.”

This follows, with the latest data from 2015 and 2016—2017 is still being analyzed—the two years of LBPD police violence which saw a spike, followed by a relieving downturn.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.