VIDEO: Santa Ana Police Clobber Burglary Suspect With Batons and Fists
Surveillance video still shot
On the night of June 20, Edgar Vargas Arzate reportedly ran away from SanTana police officers before giving himself up. That's where surveillance cameras perched above the front yard of a home captured a good-ol' fashioned clobbering.
The 27-year-old clearly puts his hands in the air and then lays on the ground appearing to be compliant. The first officer to approach Vargas pummels him with six straight punches. Another swings his baton at the burglary suspect's legs soon after.
"He started hitting him right away," said Miriam Grajales, owner of the footage, to a KTLA-TV Channel 5 reporter this weekend. "The guy didn't even resist."
Grajales' footage is silent, and Vargas gets pulled off-screen for a number of minutes before being hauled away in cuffs. But the woman says she witnessed everything that night, adding that officers used a Taser on him that didn't show up in the footage.
Vargas was hospitalized at St. Joseph hospital in Orange after the encounter. His mother told the Orange County Register he may have been high off meth due to his prior drug history and fled police out of paranoia.
Vargas has since pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted burglary, resisting arrest, tampering with a vehicle and battering a police officer.
As for the officers who went to town on Vargas? Santa Ana police say they only recently obtained the surveillance footage. Department spokesman Cpl. Anthony Bertagna tells reporters that the use of force is currently under internal investigation and can't comment beyond that.
Check out the full video below:
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss OC Weekly's biggest stories. Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts