Video shows LA sheriff’s deputy holding gun to prone suspect’s head

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LANCASTER, Calif. (KTLA) – Cellphone video capturing a deputy holding a gun to the head of a man as he lay prone on the ground awaiting arrest in Lancaster, California, has prompted an internal review of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department policies, officials said Thursday.

The man seen in the video was armed when he was detained last Friday near the corner of Division Street and East Avenue J, the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

In video posted to Facebook around 2:15 p.m. that afternoon, a crowd of people can be heard shouting in protest outside an Arco station, as the deputy holds the man’s face to the ground with one hand and the gun to his head in the other. Another deputy orders bystanders to get back.

The suspect, meanwhile, was not resisting as he laid face-down on the ground with his hands raised and empty. It does not appear he was armed at the time.

“If you’re not going to handcuff him then get off of him,” one of the bystanders shouts.

“Why you still got your gun on his head?” another asks.

Another deputy then begins handcuffing the man, but the one holding a gun keeps it directly on the suspect’s head.

At least six deputies were on scene at the time.

The 1 minute, 44 second video begins after the suspect has surrendered and it’s unclear what led to the encounter.

The clip ends as other deputies take the man into custody, and the one who’d been holding the gun walks away. As he leaves, he appears to pick up the gun the man was carrying and shows it to the crowd. 

Deputies say the man had a loaded handgun with an extended, high-capacity magazine. He was not injured during the arrest.

The Sheriff’s Department says the video has prompted “an in-depth review” of its policies and tactics.

The probe will include a review of video from the deputy’s body-worn camera, which the department says captured the confrontation.

The Sheriff’s Department is still working on issuing body cameras for every deputy, and did not specify if the body camera was issued by the department or if it was the deputy’s own.

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