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Suspect charged for assaulting cop with drum during May Day protest

May 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man is charged with assault and battery on an LAPD officer after the female officer was smashed in the back of the head during a violent May Day protest.

A 23-year-old man accused of hitting a female police officer with a drum on May Day faced a judge Friday. It was just one of the violent attacks on police caught on camera during the protests. The suspect could face years behind bars if convicted.

Identified by LAPD in video recorded on May Day, 23-year-old Brian German Mendoza is accused of wilfull assault, wielding a snare drum to strike LAPD Officer Mandee Duyanen during a testy May Day confrontation at 4th and Hill streets, the same location where four other demonstrators allegedly shoved officers with a wooden pallet.

While those demonstrators are still at large, Mendoza was recognized by officers. He has a list of prior convictions including a misdemeanor assault on a peace officer in January to which he pleaded guilty.

Also in trouble are three suspects arrested by Sheriff's Transit Deputies. According to investigators, the suspects were with a group of 30 or 40 Occupy L.A. protesters who boarded the Metro rail on May Day in North Hollywood and threatened public safety.

"They began actually causing a disruption in the train and in particular began pulling the emergency brake, causing the train to actually stop several times," said L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. Lt. Matthew Rodriguez.

Deputies seized what they call "anti-riot" tools, what protesters pack to be ready for violence.

"He had masks that were dipped in vinegar which would help with tear gas. They also had milk and water combined which would help with pepper-spray," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says deputies recognized suspect Brian Mendoza with the group of occupiers.

Videographer and documentarian Sam Slovick also recognized Mendoza. Slovick says Mendoza is a member of Occupy Skid Row where Mendoza lives, and that Mendoza likely acted out of frustration.

"There's a bunch of people there who have been systematically kind of targeted and abused and harassed," said Slovick.

Mendoza will get a chance to explain his side as he faces trial. His next hearing set for May 16. Mendoza remained in custody Friday with bail set at $90,000.

Duyanen, the injured officer, suffered a concussion. She is back at work.

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