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Makeover advised for gang member kicked by El Monte officer

The attorney of Richard Rodriguez, who has filed a $5-million legal claim against the city, wants his client to grow hair and wear a suit to cover his tattoos at trial.

July 24, 2009|Hector Becerra

The attorney for a gang member kicked in the head by an El Monte police officer at the end of a televised car chase thinks his client has a great case. On Thursday, Nick Pacheco filed a $5-million legal claim against the city on behalf of the 23-year-old.

But just in case, the attorney said his heavily tattooed client will be getting an extreme makeover in time for a trial, complete with a thick Tom Selleck mustache -- think "Magnum P.I." -- to cover the name of his street gang, which is inked on his upper lip. Richard Rodriguez will also grow hair to cover the tattoos on his shaved head. And he'll wear a nice, conservative suit.

To make his point, Pacheco used Photoshop to show the difference.

In the booking photo, Rodriguez's head is shaved, and the name of his gang hangs over his lip. Tattoos climb his neck. In the "after" rendition, he's wearing a black suit with a metallic gray tie, neatly combed hair and a lush mustache.

"People get past looks when you put on a suit and your hair is grown," Pacheco said.

Pacheco, a former L.A. councilman, said his client suffers from headaches and blurred vision, among other symptoms. Dieter Dammeier, attorney for the El Monte Police Officers Assn., said the officer acted within his training by using a "distraction blow" on Rodriguez.


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