A teenage boy was allegedly beaten and stomped on so severely by a pair of Baldwin Park police officers that he had their shoe prints on his pants and numerous abrasions on his legs when he went to the hospital following a 2019 confrontation, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.
Anthony Romero of Glendora, who was 16 at the time, is suing the city of Baldwin Park, along with Officer Ryan Felton and Sgt. Joseph Meister, for excessive force. He is seeking unspecified damages.
The Baldwin Park Police Department has completed an internal investigation and Felton and Meister no longer work for the agency, Capt. Chris Hofford said Tuesday. The matter is under review by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for possible charges against the former officers.
The boy’s attorney, Wesley Ouchi, praised Romero for taking a stand against police brutality.
“There are residents within small cities, such as Baldwin Park, who tend to live in constant fear of their local police departments,” Ouchi said. “For this reason alone, Mr. Romero’s lawsuit is quite significant to the community of Baldwin Park, since it represents a now 18-year-old kid who has bravely taken a stand against the local police department for violating his federal civil rights.”
Beating followed traffic stop
The incident occurred shortly before 3 a.m. on Sept. 23, 2019, when Romero was in the back seat of a black Chrysler 300 traveling along Fairgrove Avenue in Baldwin Park. Another juvenile sat next to him and two other teens were in the front seats.
The driver of the Chrysler passed two police cruisers near the intersection of Frazier Street and Fairgrove, became frightened because he apparently did not have a driver’s license and began to accelerate, according to the lawsuit. Felton and Officer Ernest Barrios, who were driving the two police cars, initiated a traffic stop and pulled the Chrysler over.
Meanwhile, Romero became frightened, jumped out of the vehicle near a rear alleyway in the 13000 block of Ramona Avenue, and encountered Felton, according to the lawsuit.
“Officer Ryan Felton, who observed plaintiff emerge from the automobile, unholstered his firearm, and aimed it at plaintiff through the window of his police cruiser,” says the suit. “Seeing the officer draw his firearm caused plaintiff to begin running and Officer Ryan Felton exited his police cruiser and began chasing plaintiff on foot through the alleyway.”
According to the complaint, Romero eventually stopped running and complied with Felton’s commands to put his hands in the air, lay on the ground, and spread his arms and legs.
Felton, still holding his firearm, approached Romero “and kicked him, with force, in the ribs,” the suit alleges. A terrified Romero “thought he was going to die,” the suit claims.
Felton then proceeded to walk around Romero “and kick him square in the face. This gave plaintiff a black eye. It also bruised the entire side of plaintiff’s face.”
The incident reportedly was captured on surveillance video from a nearby business and collected by law enforcement.
The lawsuit also says Felton placed the handcuffed teen …read more
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News
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