The televised beating of a suspected car thief yesterday by a flashlight-wielding Los Angeles officer was called “Rodney King-esque,” a reference to the 1991 beating of an African American man by LA officers that led to riots a year later, reports the Los Angeles Times. TV news crews in helicopters recorded a car chase that ended shortly before 6 a.m. when about half a dozen officers ran after an African American man who bolted from a stolen car. He was identified as Stanley Miller, 36.
On a videotape, the unarmed man appears to surrender after sprinting a short distance along a concrete-lined channel, raising his arms and starting to crouch. As two officers restrain the suspect on the ground, a third officer is seen delivering a quick kick and striking him 11 times in the upper body with a flashlight. The LAPD and FBI have opened investigations. Police Chief William Bratton, who was out of town, said, “There is no denying that it looks very bad from what is seen on the video, but there should be no rush to judgment before the investigations are completed.” In a departure from past incidents, the LAPD would not release the names of the officers involved.