Force justified, Dammeier said

Dieter Dammeier, the attorney for the El Monte Police Union, among others, justifies kick.

Union attorney: El Monte officer’s force justified

The actions of an officer who kicked a man in the head following a high speed pursuit Wednesday were justified, according to the attorney representing the El Monte Police Officers Association.

Dieter Dammeier said Thursday the officer who approached Richard Rodriguez following the half-hour pursuit, was alone and fearful the suspect may have had a weapon.

“When you’re going to have to take a bad guy into custody physically, it is sometimes going to be aggressive and the cops are there to win,” Dammeier said.

The officer’s kick was what is called a “distraction blow,” Dammeier said, and is not designed to harm people.

“(The suspect) obviously hadn’t been searched yet,” Dammeier said. “The fear is this guy had weapons on him. Better safe than sorry.”

The name of the officer seen kicking Rodriguez once in the head on live video has not been released.

Dammeier said the union would file court orders if need be to ensure the officer’s name not be made public.

The El Monte Police Department has asked The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to conduct an independent investigation into the incident. The officer who kicked the suspect has been re-assigned to desk duty.