BOYLE HEIGHTS, Calif. – It was the video that shocked many in Los Angeles, a Los Angeles Police Department officer beating a man in Boyle Heights, caught on camera by a neighbor. An LAPD body cam gives a better glimpse of officer Frank Hernandez hitting Richard Castillo on April 27.
Castillo’s attorney, Wesley Ouchi visits the same ground where the beating occurred, gathering information about what happened to someone he believes is an innocent man.
“Richard Castillo is a member of the Boyle Heights community. He’s a lifelong resident. He was born and raised on this particular block. For most of his life he resided in that white house his family used to own” Ouchi explained.
It was just steps away from the house where the beating happened, right next to a church. Castillo, now homeless, had a tent in a lot next door.
“Within this community, he’s well liked, he’s well known, he’s never had any problems,” Ouchi explained.
According to him, it’s in the same lot where Officer Hernandez and another officer first approached Castillo asking him to move.
“The officers came and believed that Mr. Castillo was trespassing on this vacant lot, which he’s occupied for years without incident,” Ouchi added.
“It was objectively unreasonable to assault Mr. Castillo in the way the officers did.”
Many in the community agree - protesters even heading directly to the police station to make their voices heard.
“If they’re going to keep attacking us despite the pandemic, we’re gonna keep coming out to support the people who they victimize,” said Sol Marquez of community group Centro CSO.
The district attorney’s office has charged Officer Hernandez with assault, and even the police protective league has called what was captured on video unacceptable.
But for Ouchi, it’s not enough. He wants an investigation into Hernandez’s partner who was on the scene as well.
“(They) failed to intervene and stop Officer Hernandez’s assault.”
Ouchi will continue to push for justice for his client, Richard Castillo, whose memories of home are now forever changed. Frank Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the charges of assault.