Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies put a man in a headlock and repeatedly punched him in the head outside his home in East Los Angeles, according to his family.

Deputies wrestled 34-year-old Alejandro Hernandez to the ground Monday, just before 4 p.m., and placed him in a headlock, according to his mother, Gabriela Ortega.

Hernandez’s family said he was washing his car outside his home when the confrontation began, but the Sheriff’s Department said he was walking in the street in the 3500 block of Floral Drive at the time. The deputies watched him move his hands toward his waistband similar to “someone who was possibly attempting to conceal something,” according to a Sheriff’s Department statement.

The deputies alleged they recognized Hernandez because of his prior history as a gang member and when they approached and searched him they “felt a firearm in his waistband,” according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Hernandez refused to be handcuffed, the Sheriff’s Department said, and that’s when the deputies forced him to the ground. The violent arrest was first reported by Fox 11 News.

In the cellphone video recorded by Ortega’s younger son, one deputy placed Hernandez in a headlock and pulled back his arm. Hernandez tried to pull the deputy’s arm off his neck, but the other deputy repeatedly punched and elbowed him in the head. Blood pooled on Hernandez’s face as the deputy continued to punch him and tried to get handcuffs on Hernandez’s wrist, according to the video. At one point during the encounter, a deputy pulled out a handgun from his holster and pointed it at a neighbor who approached Hernandez and the deputies, the video showed.

The deputies said they found a loaded 9-millimeter firearm inside Hernandez’s pants. He was arrested on suspicion of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm and battery on a police officer. The department said Hernandez and the deputies were treated at a local hospital for their injuries.

“They’re saying that a police officer had blood. But it was my son’s blood,” Ortega said when reached by phone on Tuesday. “You could see in the video how he’s punching him so hard with his fist and elbow going back and forth. Of course he’s going to have blood.”

The department said the arrest and the deputies’ actions are under investigation.

“As with any use-of-force incident a comprehensive review will be conducted to determine if department policies and procedures were followed,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

Hernandez is an amputee, missing part of his leg, and spends most of his time at home, according to his mother. But she feels that because of his criminal record, law enforcement officers continue to harass him and her family. In a separate incident, sheriff’s deputies pulled over her husband because he didn’t have a license plate on the front of his vehicle. She said a deputy pointed a gun at her husband during that incident.

She feels the deputies who beat her son were going out of their way to target him.

“I want people to be held accountable for their actions. As a mother, that’s what I want and that’s what I’m going to fight for,” said Ortega, who was at work during the incident but saw the video footage later. “Just because you have a badge, you think that gives you the right and that you’re above the law?”

Hernandez remains in police custody, according to jail records, with no bail set.



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