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Riverside Sheriff's Dept. to Investigate Videotaped Confrontation Involving Deputy

May 01, 2003|Louis Sahagun | Times Staff Writer

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department began an investigation Wednesday into alleged use of excessive force by a deputy against a Temecula man that was captured on videotape.

"We're taking this very seriously," said Sgt. Shelley Kennedy-Smith, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department.

In the 1 1/2-minute video, the deputy can be seen pulling Francisco Padilla, 18, to the ground in a shaded area beneath trees and then striking him in the upper torso, according to Ray Diaz, managing editor of Telemundo's Spanish language news program, which obtained the tape.

Unidentified people in the background can be heard urging the deputy to stop hitting Padilla, who was cited for driving without a license and resisting arrest, authorities said.

"Members of the sheriff's executive staff reviewed the tape ... and had questions about the use of force depicted," Kennedy-Smith said. "Sheriff's staff ordered a full investigation of the incident immediately by the department's administrative investigations unit."

She said the investigation could be completed within 30 days.

The incident occurred Monday after a traffic stop on a private dirt road near Temecula.

Telemundo reporter Dinorah Perez obtained the video from an unidentified passerby and then handed it over to Riverside authorities Wednesday morning.

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