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Protest held after sheriff’s deputies accused of excessive force during arrest of disabled

Roughly two dozen people protested Saturday in East Los Angeles, accusing Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies of excessive force during the arrest of a man who is disabled.

Video captured two sheriff’s deputies using force during the Monday afternoon arrest of Alejandro Hernandez. In the video, one deputy is seen choke holding Hernandez on the ground while the other is over him, pinning his arms down.

According to LASD, the arrest happened around 4 p.m. Monday while deputies were patrolling the 3500 block of Floral Drive. In that area, they came across Hernandez and claimed to have recognized him from what they described as “prior contacts as an active gang member.”

The officials claimed they saw the man move his hands toward his waistband and, fearing he had a weapon, deputies tried to handcuff him. LASD said deputies found a loaded handgun in Hernandez’s pants and subsequently arrested him for battery on a police officer and ex-felon possession of a firearm.

Hernandez’s attorney, however, said deputies took advantage of his client.

“There was no report of a crime, there was no one who called 911 on Mr. Hernandez,” said Christian Contreras, Hernandez’s lawyer. “There was nothing that should have caused the deputies to stop Mr. Hernandez. Despite those facts, they stopped him. They recognized that he had a disability.”

Hernandez has a leg amputated. Both he and the deputies in the arrest were treated for injuries at local hospitals. The severity of the injuries received by Hernandez and the officials was not disclosed.

“Some of the police officers here are corrupt,” said Gabriella Ortega, Hernandez’s mother. “It’s not like they are here to serve and protect, it seems like they’re out here trying to beat up young men that can’t walk the streets or wash their cars because they’re being beat up.”

The sheriff’s department said in a statement that “as with any use of force incident, a comprehensive review will be conducted to determine if department policies and procedures were followed.”

LASD did not disclose the identities of the deputies involved.

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