Arrestee accuses El Monte police of excessive force in beating

EL MONTE — A man who claims he was beaten by El Monte police so badly he lost most of his eyesight has filed a claim against the department, his attorney said Thursday.
Cornelio Chavez, 35, suffered the beating June 24 while officers were arresting him on an outstanding warrant, attorney Brad Gage said.
About half a dozen police officers confronted Chavez in a small bedroom of his mother’s apartment in the 11100 block of Bonwood Road, the attorney said.
The officers began beating Chavez, while another officer ordered his family members to remain in the apartment’s kitchen, Gage said.
“According to witnesses, this beating lasted from 20 minutes to an hour,” he said. “Our client was pleading for help.”
“Basically, most of the bones in the face were broken,” Gage said. Chavez also suffered bleeding from his brain and lost about 85 percent of his eyesight, which he is not expected to regain.
He spent weeks in a hospital, Gage added.
“There’s no way you could justify beating this long or this severely,” he said.
El Monte Police Chief Steve Schuster said his department was looking into the claim.
“We’re taking the accusation very seriously,” he said. “We’ve assigned out internal affairs investigators to conduct a complete and thorough investigation.”
Schuster said the arrest did not go on for more than 20 minutes, as alleged by Gage, but rather lasted only a few minutes.
When El Monte police internal affairs investigators tried to speak with Chavez and his family at the hospital, Schuster said, they declined to speak with officials and referred all questions to their attorney.
Chavez was an active parolee at the time of the incident, and police had received word from parole officials that Chavez may have been under the influence of drugs at the apartment complex, the chief said.
Authorities checked his criminal history before going to the home and found Chavez was had a warrant for his arrest due to pending charges of weapons violations and assault on a peace officer, Schuster said.
Arriving officers found Chavez hiding in a closet in the apartment, he said.
“He came out of the closet and engaged the officers in a physical confrontation,” Schuster said. One officer suffered a minor injury.
Officers fought to get Chavez into custody, the chief said.
At one point, an officer believed Chavez was reaching for his gun, so the officer struck Chavez in the head, Schuster said. It was not clear if he was struck with a fist, baton or other object.
The involved officers remained on duty, “because there’s no initial indication that they did anything wrong,” Schuster said.
Because of his injuries, Chavez was not immediately arrested, Schuster said. Charges of felony resisting arrest, misdemeanor resisting arrest and misdemeanor assault on a peace officer have since been filed.
The city had not accepted or denied the claim as of Thursday, Gage said. If the city denies the claim or does not respond to it within 45 days of filing, Gage said he plans to move forward with a lawsuit.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email
  • Lupe

    this was ridculous, they should sue the empd enough said.

  • francisco

    that is so wrong wat these cops do these days they have to remeber that were human and regaurdless that man should have not been injured