In what can only be described as yet another case of senseless police brutality, three California police officers were filmed delivering a horrific beating to a defenseless 16-year-old. His only crime: filming the police.
Christian Aguilar had no idea what he was in for when he turned his camera on cops as they arrested his father, Ignacio Aguilar Jr., for public intoxication. The family had headed to the LA County Fair expecting a fun night, but their excursion turned sour when police approached Ignacio Aguilar Jr. to escort him out of the fairgrounds, claiming he was visibly intoxicated. Christian followed close behind, recording the interaction. When the Pomona officers told him to step back, he informed them he was leaving the fair. That’s when things turned nasty.
In the video, you can see a police officer whip Christian around by the collar. Christian, whose mother Eraine Aguilar has been in law enforcement for 15 years, keeps his arms at his sides in an attempt to show he’s not resisting nor does he pose a threat. Despite this, the officer proceeds to punch Christian in the jaw, still holding him firmly by the collar, pulling him back in to punch him again. Another officer rushes in to grab Christian, helping hold him in place while a third beats his legs out from under him with a baton. Christian is thrown around like a ragdoll and finally forced to the ground as more officers run over, one even drawing and readying a Taser, evidently to help subdue the teen who is already on the ground.
The entire altercation was recorded by a bystander who, at the end of the video, is asked to identify himself, despite committing no crime. The man, who has asked his name not be revealed, was arrested moments later, also for being drunk in public. He was held overnight and released without charges, but said police kept his phone as evidence for two days. Neither this man nor Ignacio Aguilar were administered Breathalyzers or field sobriety tests.
Christian was taken to the emergency room by police with numerous injuries, including a concussion, bruising, and nerve damage to his jaw. He was charged with obstruction and resisting arrest. The charges have since been dropped, dismissed by a judge at Christian’s hearing in May.
The family is now pursuing a lawsuit against the officers involved, alleging “unprovoked police brutality” and a “gang-style beating”. They also claim Pomona Police Department tampered with evidence as part of an “intricate cover-up”.
Police reports filed by the officers involved claim Christian was “following too close” and “within arms reach”. One officer stated it appeared Christian was going to attempt to rescue his father or assault an officer. An Internal Affairs investigation is ongoing.
Eraine and Ignacio Aguilar say they are just grateful their son is alive, though they all now fear for their safety. Ignacio is worried about police retaliation, while Christian struggles with anxiety, and is now fearful of going too far from home: “Because the things that used to protect me I feel aren’t there to protect me,” Christian said.
He once thought he might follow in his mother’s footsteps and pursue a career in law enforcement, but now says that path is off the table. “I used to think about being a cop and now after this, I don’t even want to look at cops.”