In light of renewed scrutiny into police departments all across the country in the wake of George Floyd's murder, an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department is facing charges for an incident that took place earlier this year. According to TMZ, the officer, Frank Hernandez, is being charged with assault by the District Attorney after video emerged of him beating a man in April. The District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, announced the charges on Tuesday.
TMZ reported that Hernandez was captured on video beating a man in Boyle Heights in April. The officer reportedly responded to a call for trespassing at the time of the incident. Hernandez and his partner allegedly encountered the man after they saw him in an area that he was apparently not supposed to be in. The man refused to leave the premises, which caused the situation to escalate between him and the cops. Hernandez was accused of punching the man over a dozen times on the head and various parts of his body.
AGRO COP ASSAULTS NON VIOLENT FOO IN BOYLE HEIGHTS pic.twitter.com/VPeIpVG4YG— FOOS GONE WILD (@foosgonewild) May 5, 2020
The District Attorney released a statement about this news, saying that it was "a disturbing case of the illegal use of force at the hands of a police officer. In this case, we believe the force was neither legally necessary nor reasonable." Now, Hernandez is facing one count of felony assault under color of authority. If he is convicted on this charge, Hernandez could face up to three years in prison.
As previously mentioned, this news comes as many across the country (and around the world) are protesting and highlighting specific issues that are plaguing the black community, such as racial injustice and police brutality. These protests were sparked after Floyd, an unarmed African American man, was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after the cop knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes on May 25. Days after this tragic incident took place, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
On June 3, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that they would be elevating those charges against Chauvin to second-degree murder and manslaughter. He also announced that there would be charges against the three other officers involved in the incident. Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane, who have all since been fired from the police department for their involvement in Floyd's death, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.