Cellphone video showing two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies restraining and punching an amputee has sparked outrage and demands for answers.
Alejandro Hernandez was “in his own neighborhood going to his home” on Nov. 20 when he was “profiled,” attorney Christian Contreras said.
“He was targeted and these sheriff deputies in East Los Angeles went after him,” Contreras said Saturday at a protest outside the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department station, according to CBS Los Angeles.
In a statement to NBC News, Contreras said that the deputies knew Hernandez was an amputee “and they exploited his disability.”
In the 15-second video provided by Contreras, a deputy is seen restraining Hernandez on the ground. A second deputy appears to punch Hernandez twice in the face. Hernandez has blood on his face, the video shows, and the deputy has blood on his hand.
“Give up your hands,” one deputy repeats before instructing his partner to handcuff Hernandez.
The deputies were patrolling around 3:50 p.m. when they saw a man walking in the street that they recognized “from prior contacts as an active gang member,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
“The deputies observed the male Hispanic moving his hands toward his waistband consistent with someone who was possibly attempting to conceal something,” the sheriff’s office said. “As deputies made contact with the male Hispanic, they felt a firearm in his waistband.”
The deputies attempted to handcuff the man and recover the firearm, authorities said, adding that Hernandez resisted.
“The male Hispanic was ultimately detained and a loaded 9mm firearm was recovered from inside his pants,” the sheriff’s office said.
Hernandez and both deputies, who have not been named, were treated at the hospital for injuries sustained during the altercation, according to authorities. Hernandez was ultimately arrested and accused of being in possession of a firearm as an ex-felon and battery on a police officer, authorities said.
Contreras told NBC Los Angeles that deputies did not have a reason to approach Hernandez.
“There was no report of a crime, there was no one who called 911 on Mr. Hernandez,” he said. “There was nothing that should have caused the deputies to stop Mr. Hernandez. Despite those facts, they stopped him. They recognized that he had a disability.”
He accused the deputies of “brutally” beating the disabled man, who had a leg amputated.
“Equal protection under the law mandates that police officers treat all members of the public equally,” he said in his statement. “It is clear that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies who brutally beat Alejandro Hernandez did not respect equal protection because they targeted him, profiled him, and then violently beat him.”
The sheriff’s office said a comprehensive review is being conducted to determine if the deputies violated policies or procedures.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com