A video circulating on social media this week shows a Long Beach police officer hitting a man’s legs with a baton. Police say the struggle is the end result of the man trying to carjack several vehicles and resisting officers who confronted him.
The 13-second clip shows an officer on top of a man in the street near the corner of Fourth Street and Atlantic Avenue. A second officer then begins hitting the man’s legs with a baton while whomever is filming expresses his disbelief and calls the officer names.
The video appears to have been first shared Tuesday afternoon by The Daily Diddi, a Long Beach podcast. The person who recorded the video declined to speak with the Long Beach Post when contacted through The Daily Diddi.
The Long Beach Police Department said the video shows only a small portion of an incident from Saturday, Feb. 15. A statement from the LBPD called it unfortunate that the video doesn’t show what led up to officers using force.
According to the LBPD, officers got involved around 3:15 p.m. when police got a call from a parking enforcement employee saying a man was trying to carjack him. Police said they later learned that the man had already tried to carjack several other cars in the area.
Officers rushed to the scene while a good Samaritan struggled with the would-be carjacker trying to stop him, police said.
“Upon arrival, officers ordered the subject to the ground,” police said in a statement. “As an officer attempted to handcuff the suspect, he began to thrash his body and resist the officer.”
At that point, the baton-wielding officer started hitting the man and police were able to take him into custody, police said.
Police identified the arrestee as 24-year-old Eugene Martindale III. They said he was held without bail on suspicion of attempted carjacking, obstructing or resisting police, and a parole violation.
Police said they’re now reviewing the use of force to make sure it was justified, as is typical with all such incidents.
According to the Long Beach police department’s policy, officers may use batons to defend themselves or to combat violently resisting suspects.
The LBPD manual also says officers can use a baton to hit someone if officers believe the person has committed a crime and he or she won’t allow officers to handcuff or search them.
“When an officer has legal justification to detain a suspect and the suspect refuses or fails to comply with the officer’s direction prior to searching or handcuffing, impact weapons may be used to obtain compliance,” the manual says.
Officers are told to aim for less vital areas of the body such as the lower legs, arms or ribcage.