The investigation into the Los Angeles police beating of car-theft suspect Stanley Miller is going beyond the 11 flashlight blows administered by officer John J. Hatfield to include a second officer who is seen on TV news footage kneeing the suspect while the man is down, the Los Angeles Times reports. That blow, delivered by officer Peter Bueno, occurred 54 seconds after police pushed Miller to the ground June 23 at the end of a chase. Seven officers were on top of Miller, apparently trying to handcuff him. Bueno is seen grasping Miller before ramming his knee into his midsection. In addition, officials are examining at least five knee strikes that Hatfield can be seen delivering with his right leg to Miller’s torso.
LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Berkow declined to elaborate about whether the kneeings were considered violations of policy. It was possible that Bueno’s action could be within policy, if Miller was resisting at the time. The knee blow is permitted as a “distraction strike” to subdue an unruly suspect.