Dashcam catches cop kicking suspect in the head during arrest (GRAPHIC VIDEO)
Police dashcam footage of a Pennsylvania officer kicking a robbery suspect in the head during an arrest last year has been released as part of a criminal case being taken against the cop and the city of Allentown.
Hector Medina-Pena, 33, filed the lawsuit alleging that police officer Joseph Iannetta used excessive force during his arrest on May 30, 2015.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
The suit also claims the incident was part of a wider pattern of police violence over the past decade that has not being appropriately addressed by the city of Allentown, according to The Morning Call.
Medina-Pena was hospitalized for three days after the incident, according to his lawsuit, and Iannetta received no disciplinary action.
The arrest caught on Iannetta’s dashcam was included as evidence in the case. The footage shows police pulling over the vehicle, shouting at the suspects to get out of the SUV with their hands up while an officer points a gun at them.
Passenger Medina-Pena gets out of the vehicle first and appears to comply with the police orders. Two other suspects get out of the SUV and lay flat on the ground with their hands stretched out.
The video shows Medina-Pena on his knees with his hands stretched out in front of him when officer Iannetta rushes out of his own vehicle and kicks him in the head.
Another cop then holds Medina-Pena down as Iannetta drags another suspect out of the vehicle, bringing him to the ground. Seven police officers are seen in the video responding to the incident.
Medina-Pena was fleeing the scene of a robbery at a strip club with his co-suspects at the time of the arrest. Staff at the club alerted police and said that a man who appeared to have a gun in his waistband threatened to kill the cashier, who handed over $1,594 during the raid, according to the police report.
Medina-Pena pleaded guilty to the robbery and was sentenced in June to 10 years in prison.
In his lawsuit, Medina-Pena claims that Iannetta was investigated in over a dozen cases for alleged abuse between 2006 and 2016. It also says the officer, who has worked with Allentown Police Department for more than 14 years, was a defendant in a 2013 federal civil rights lawsuit that was settled by the city in September for $350,000.
Allentown Police Chief Keith Morris issued a statement in response to the suit, saying that Medina-Pena repeatedly refused to comply with Iannetta’s commands during the arrest and had “repeatedly” reached towards his waistband.
“Concerned about this suspect, who was reported by the victims to be armed, Officer Iannetta took action to protect himself, his fellow officers, and the public and take this later-convicted robber into custody by using the minimal amount of force necessary to overcome the threat,” Morris said.
City solicitor Susan Ellis Wild said Iannetta’s actions were reviewed by senior police staff as well as by her office and were considered appropriate in the circumstances, Lehigh Valley Live reports.