Cop’s kick to suspect’s head could cost cash-strapped El Monte $5 million *

For a city that’s got no money and is laying off cops left and right, an officer’s kick to a prone suspect’s head may end up being pretty costly. *Here’s a copy of the claim:

And the story:

EL MONTE – The parolee who was kicked in the head by an El Monte officer in May is demanding $5 million from the city.

Lawyers for Richard Rodriguez, 24, filed a claim at El Monte City Hall on Thursday claiming Rodriguez suffers from headaches, blurred vision, back problems, inability to sleep and dizziness since his arrest on May 13.

“Mr. Rodriguez presents symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, such as flashbacks, frightening thoughts, depression, worrisome, easily startled, and on edge,” the 12-page claim states.
The claim comes nearly two months after news cameras caught a police pursuit of Rodriguez – which ended with Rodriguez being kicked in the head and pepper-sprayed.
The chase started after El Monte Police Officer George Fierro attempted to pull over Rodriguez. Rodriguez did not stop, and instead led police on a car and foot-chase.
The chase ended when Rodriguez became trapped behind a condo complex and then surrendered by laying face down on the grass.
Moments later, Fierro kicked Rodriguez in the head and pepper-sprayed him in the face.
Fierro has since been removed from patrol.
Police Chief Tom Armstrong said that video does not always relay the entire story.
“I believe firmly that a police officer is entitled to the same due process as a criminal,” Armstrong said. “We will let justice decide.” 

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Minor rap sheet, major headache in El Monte

A couple of quick updates in El Monte police department beating of a prone suspect:

First of all, suspect Richie “Turtle” Rodriguez apparently had a rap sheet filled with minor, non-violent offenses. Police have said Turtle was a member of El Monte Flores.

In the LA Times, City Councilwoman Pat Wallach, a frequent and vocal critic of the department, refused to criticize the actions of the cop who did the kicking.

“We are waiting for reports before we make specific comments on what occurred,” said Wallach.

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ACLU demands investigation of El Monte PD

The videotaped beating of a pursuit suspect by El Monte Police officers has caught the eye of the ACLU.

An El Monte police officer kicked Richard Rodriguez, 23, of El Monte in the head following a half-hour high speed pursuit through the East San Gabriel Valley.
Ramona Ripston told the Los Angeles Times the video “is truly chilling.”
Rodriguez, a member of El Monte Flores was on parole at the time of the pursuit, El Monte police said.
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High speed pursuit leads to two arrests *


A pursuit that started in El Monte, wound through Baldwin Park and ended up in Pico Rivera looked a lot like something from Grand Theft Auto.

Regardless, the chase carried live on KTLA and KCAL ended in a car accident that resulted in two arrests.
Octorazzi himself, Raul Roa, got shots of the pair, apparently they were on parole, and likely members of El Monte Flores.
KNBC shot video of the end of the pursuit that shows El Monte cops kick the suspect in the head then apparently exchanging high-fives.

Here’s their video:

View more news videos at:

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EMF on the move north to Washington state

The El Monte Flores gang seems to have migrated north into Seattle suburbs, according to an article in the Seattle Times.

A Burien teen was apprehended near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Sunday, days after prosecutors issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with a gang-related drive-by shooting in February.

Jose Noe Cervantes, 17, was booked into the Regional Justice Center in Kent just before 5:30 p.m. Sunday and is being held on $200,000 bail, jail records show. He was arrested at South 188th Street and International Boulevard, just east of the airport, a jail spokesman said.

According to charging documents that were filed Thursday, Cervantes was one of three young, Hispanic males in a red Honda Civic that was heading south in the 13600 block of Ambaum Boulevard South around 8 p.m. on Feb. 28. Another group of young Hispanic males — self-admitted members of the Sureo 13 El Monte Flores gang — were standing outside an apartment complex when Cervantes allegedly fired a handgun from the car, hitting one in the left thigh, charging documents said.

The victim told King County sheriff’s detectives that the occupants of Civic all wore blue hats and had blue bandannas concealing their faces. Before the shooting, the males in the Civic were flashing gang signs, indicating their membership in the Sureo 13 Varrio Loco street gang, charging documents say.

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