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.

  • Skeptic

    DISTRACTION BLOW!?!?!?!?!?

    I’m sure the thug got what he deserved in some karma sense, but “DISTRACTION BLOW”???

    Distraction blows are a technique used in law enforcement when a suspect is non-compliant – especially if he’s reaching for your gun.(I didn’t see any of that on the tape).

    I think the Union Lawyer is grasping at straws on that one.

    I hope the City made the cop give a coerced statement, that’s probably the only way to get the case thrown out and save the city some money.

  • Donald

    If he feared for his life wouldn’t it have been smarter to keep his beed on the guy while he was prone on the ground. Instead he nearly falls down while kicking him putting himself at risk of losing his firearm. Now he is truly putting himself in jeopardy as well as his fellow officers be potentially putting his weapon in the perps hands.

  • anonymous

    The attorney’s job is to protect and represent the members of the police union and here we see him doing as much. It appears he is trying to get “out front” of the story and offer some explanation for the officer’s behavior….I think he would be better off just letting the investigation runs it’s course.
    I doubt seriously that anyone (the DA) will blame the officer for tuning up this particular suspect.

  • Charles

    Seems like this lawyer’s job is insulting everyone’s intelligence.

  • Donald

    NO WONDER THIS COP ACTED LIKE A THUG!!!

    He owns a clothing store that sells clothing celebrating the gang lifestyle.

    Check out this article in today’s Tribune:
    http://www.sgvtribune.com/ci_12373174

  • Gang Buster

    The officer should of shot that piece of scum! One less piece of crap to deal with.

    More power to all law enforcement officers who dish out street justice to these street thugs.

    The distraction blow should of been when the officer shoved his baton up his ass!

  • citizen

    Give me a break. The cop was out of control. The problem that I have is what if this cop stops or is called and the person is having a bad day and does not do what he is told the first time. Do you hit shoot or ask again, again.

  • Non-liberal

    Hey Donald, do your research. 186.22 is the Penal Code section for Gang Enhancements. Which means, thats another charge they add when a scum gangmember commits a crime to enhance his sentence. Any where from 3 yrs to 25 yrs IN PRISON. So, it is not glorifying gang crime. And if he would’ve waited for back up instead of giving him a distraction blow, that scum bag may have gotten up and tried to escape again. Maybe break into someone’s house to hide. How would you feel if he broke into your house? Wouldn’t you be upset if the cops didn’t stop him from getting into YOUR house? Believe me, a criminal like this guy knows he has a chance to get away if it’s only one cop behind him. This guy AND his buddy that was in the car have killed someone before.

    How do you think the vict’s family that he killed feels. I guess you wouldn’t know since you beleive everything the media says. Get out into the real world for once!!

  • Non-liberal

    Gang Buster, you’re the man!!!

  • Anonymous

    Look on the torcido website and you’ll see a Mexican Mafia shirt.

    Keep making excuses.

  • EM Resident

    On the one hand he’s supposed to be cracking down on gangbangers but on the other hand his promoting the gangster lifestyle.

    What kind of a mixed message is that to send to our children?

    Any sympathy I had for this cop is gone. I hope his union lawyer would just shut up and stop insulting our intelligence.

  • Gang Buster

    Let’s round up all gangsters in El Monte and across the nation and have a shooting squad take care of these cowards!!!

    I’m so tired of people trying to say police are out of control.

    Just take a look at that model citizen of a gang member who got extactly what he deserved!

    Look at all the lives of the innocent people who he and his friends put in danger.

    I’m jealous of the officer who gave him that sweet-ass justice love tap. I wish that could of been all the people he put in danger all taking turns of kicking this jerk!

  • Copper

    I review excessive force cases for a living. And as a former police officer and federal agent, there is no justification for kicking a person in the head unless the officer is in fear of his life or believes great bodily injury is imminent. Here, there is no evidence that the officer was in fear of either one. Blows to the head by an impact device like a baton or boot are viewed as a use of deadly force. Gangsters are bad people to be sure, but their status as such does not give officers justification to harm them as the officer in this case did. The Union’s attorney has this totally wrong.

  • Anonymous

    MAYBE IT WAS ALL ONE BIG MARKETING STUNT TO SELL MORE GANGSTER LIFESTYLE TEE-SHIRTS…..

    I hope both of them end of sharring a cell together.

  • anonymous

    Copper,

    If you review excessive force cases then you should know not to make a decision unless it is informed and based on all the available facts! How do you know the officer was not in fear of his life? How do you know what the suspect was saying in the way of threats towards the officer? Or the actions previously taken by the suspect towards the officer or other members of the public?

  • Copper

    True. A complete review of the facts is required to determine what happened. However, based on the video evidence, the suspect was prone and did move about in a threatening manner. And, as I’m sure you know, its the hands that kill you. Here, there was no furtive movement toward the waistband or any other area where a weapon could be secreted. In fact, the suspect’s hands were outstretched a significant distance. While more facts are needed, it would appear the officer’s actions were unwarranted. This field is not an end result game; it must be ruled by best practices and the law, not traditions of lawlessness and excuses for poor police tactics.

  • Copper

    Anonymous,

    True. A complete review of the facts is required to determine what happened. However, based on the video evidence, the suspect was prone and did move about in a threatening manner. And, as I’m sure you know, its the hands that kill you. Here, there was no furtive movement toward the waistband or any other area where a weapon could be secreted. In fact, the suspect’s hands were outstretched a significant distance from his body. While more facts are needed, it would appear the officer’s actions were unwarranted. This field is not an end result game; it must be ruled by best practices and the law, not traditions of lawlessness and excuses for poor police tactics as displayed by this officer at the closing moments of this incident. Contempt of cop is no excuse for excessive force.

  • Anonymous

    This officer (Fierro) is living a double life! His occupation is to protect el monte citizens from low life gang members but yet he is profiting from selling gang member attire. He is the last person that should be hitting and arresting gang members.
    No wonder he never got promoted! Who would want a liability like him on their team.

    Unfortunately, he is not the only empd liability and contradiction empd has, take
    SGT. PROVIDENTE (yeah this one is a sgt) he arrests individuals that drive under the influence

    Now here is the irony, SGT PROVIDENTE was driving under the influence and committed a hit and run ( the last I heard this is a CRIME). Fortunately, there were witnesses that reported him (or else he would have gotten away with it).
    This can be verified by Alhambra Police Department Public Records. El
    Monte residents claim the biggest drunk in El Monte is their city Mayor Ernie, that night he made your drunken mayor look like a saint.

    Empd was notified of this incident and now this idiot has been assigned desk duty. It would be stupid to put him at a checkpoint.

    The empd needs to clean house. Bad officers like these give the good officers a bad name!

  • Copper

    I erred in my comments. The suspect was prone and did NOT move about in a threatening manner.

  • Anonymous

    PROVIDENTE……HMMMMM?????….Didn’t the city help him buy a house too?

    WONDER WHAT ELSE THEY MIGHT FIND OUT ABOUT THIS GUY IF PEOPLE STARTED DIGGING?

  • Anonymous

    Hi I’m DIETER……AND NOW WE DANCE!!!!
    http://www.policeattorney.com/images/dammeier-lg.jpg

    http://www.ugo.com/tv/best-sketch-comedies/images/dieter.jpg

    I don’t know which is looks more annoying.

  • El Monte Resident

    Re: Providente

    I wonder if Emily would also call him “talented”.

  • Anonymous

    There are alot of cops in El Monte who are very frustrated with the GOOD OL’ BOY GROUP that runs PD Administration and the El Monte Police Officers Association. It’s these clowns and the sleezy union laywer dammeier who they all take their orders from who are ruining this department and ruining its relationship with the community. I really hope we can exorcise this bad influence from the department and go back to have a good relationship with the community. Seems like the cops mentioned here are part of that GOOD OL’ BOY NETWORK.

  • Anonymous

    WHAT ABOUT EL MONTE OFFICER DONALD LUMEN – HERE IS HIS STORY as told by union lawyer Dammeier on his lawfirm website:

    “Officer Luman was fueling up his police unit at the City’s maintenance yard and was speaking with fellow city employees about the pursuit incident [from the previous day], explaining how he “accidentally” hit the driver in the head with his firearm. One of the employees asked if he was afraid the gun might go off. Officer Luman then removed his firearm and demonstrated a safety mechanism that prevents the firearm from discharging when the slide is pressed back. Two of the five employees present during this conversation indicated that Officer Luman momentarily pointed the firearm at one of the maintenance workers in a threatening manner.”

  • Concern El Monte Resident

    Jennifer & Tania,

    The accusations of these officers mentioned are very serious, can you ladies or anyone in the SGV Tribune investigate these accusations? As a resident & business owner of El Monte, I am very disturbed that my tax dollars are going to officers with questionable character (if the accusations are true).

    As for the incident with that officer & city employees, I hope they reported him.
    It needs to be documented so they can address the issue.

  • Charles

    I also heard and maybe Jen and Tania can double check, that there is at least one officer in this department who was arrested for soliciting a prostitute and he’s still employed there.

  • anonymous

    If he was Wldon’s friend, you do not need to check anymore like the officer who started shooting up into the air outside of a Restaurant, it was suspended but Weldon brought the officer back when he became Chief….

  • Lee Webb

    I saw the video and…
    1- believe the suspect was in no hold barred mode
    2 – saw the suspect, even though down, raise his head to evaluate the officer(can I take him-is there backup, etc)
    3 – the blow was justified by the above and because it was better than deadly force..

    Game Over!