An off-duty Los Angeles police officer and three bodybuilder friends have been arrested for allegedly punching and kicking a New York man in an alley near a cafe on West Hollywood's Restaurant Row, a sheriff's spokesman said Monday.
Officer Scott Defoe, 25, who works in the Northeast Division, and his companions were leaving Pennyfeathers Cafe on La Cienega Boulevard at 3 a.m. Sunday when one of the four kicked a chair occupied by 33-year-old Jianvy Morales, a visitor from the Bronx, deputies said.
"Angry words were exchanged," said Capt. Clarence Chapman of the sheriff's West Hollywood station. "They chased him outside and when they caught up with him, they ripped off his leather coat, knocked him down and began hitting and kicking him while he was on the ground."
Morales was beaten in an alley across the street from the restaurant as horrified customers and the restaurant owner looked on, pleading with the men to stop.
"We were screaming at them, begging them to stop," said Jack Pitcher, co-owner of Pennyfeathers, who was in the parking lot when the four burst from the restaurant chasing Morales. "They were beating him severely. I said: 'Leave the guy alone; it's four against one.' But they told me to 'Shut up, get the hell out of here!' and they kept kicking him in the face and back of the head."
Pitcher called the sheriff's station for help, but by the time deputies arrived, the four had left, skipping out on a $50 tab, he said.
"Their whole attitude was like they had just left a sporting event," Pitcher said. "These were very big guys."
Deputies caught up with Defoe and his companions and booked them on suspicion of assault and defrauding an innkeeper. They were released on $5,000 bail each and arraignment was set for Aug. 22 in Beverly Hills Municipal Court, Chapman said.
Those arrested along with Defoe were Edward Spencer, 29, Ken Spencer, 27, and James Taranto, 27, all of Staten Island, N.Y. Chapman said there was no indication that they knew the victim.
Morales, who suffered face and head injuries, refused medical attention at the scene and reportedly left Los Angeles for New York City, Chapman said.