And We, Like Sheep…

After leading police on a long chase near the same Slauson Cutoff made famous by Johnny Carson (and jazz trombone virtuoso Bill Watrous), Richard Rodriguez was obviously going to jail.

At the end of a vehicular pursuit that endangered the lives and property of several people, Rodriguez — an accused street gang member — side-swiped a parked car before coming to a stop near a small cluster of buildings. The driver bolted from the car and a brief foot chase began.

Surprisingly fleet and agile, Rodriguez sprinted a quarter-mile or so before cornering himself in a fenced backyard. Taking a deep breath, and being familiar with the drill, Rodriguez flattened himself on the ground, arms outstretched, palms down, waiting for the police to arrive.

First on the scene, several seconds later, was George Fierro, a 15-year veteran El Monte, California police officer who, seeing the prone and unresisting suspect flat on the ground, nonetheless hauled off and kicked him full in the face.

Another officer quickly joined Fierro, giving Rodriguez a couple of shots with what appeared to be a small club as the two cops handcuffed the suspect. With Rodriguez in shackles, Fierro waddled over to a nearby K-9 officer to indulge in a triumphant high-five.