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Freeway road rage beating video: Victim, witness speak out

June 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man who was beaten in the middle of the 5 Freeway in a road-rage brawl spoke out on Wednesday about the violent attack.

The traffic dispute that turned into a fist fight happened on June 12 around 3:30 p.m. near downtown Los Angeles. The video was taken from a smartphone by a witness and posted to the website Liveleak.com.

The victim, identified as 50-year-old Jerry Patterson, is seen arguing with three men outside their cars on the northbound side of the freeway near Seventh Street. He and another man raised their fists and started swinging at each other.

"As I remember it, I'm trying to get away, they followed me. It got to a point where they blocked me on the freeway. I couldn't back up, couldn't move forward," Patterson said. "The guy got out of the car, and so I got out with him. I wasn't going to let him walk up on me, and I just defended myself to the best of my ability."

Patterson was holding his own until another man joined the fight. It was two against one, and Patterson was quickly pulled to the ground. He was dragged and kicked several times in the head, and then left lying on the freeway as the other car pulled away. Soon afterwards, the people shooting the video approached him, asking if he was OK.

"I grew up in the day where you fought, and you were friends the next day. Now people will shoot you, or they'll kill you or they kick you when you're down. No respect for human life," Patterson said.

Emael Age, the man who shot the video, said his car was the first to pull up when the fight began.

"I was astonished, stunned, everything. All of the above," Age said. "I just wanted to help him up, make sure he was conscious, he wanted to drive off. Said he was OK."

Age said he did not want to get involved in the fight because he didn't want to risk getting caught up.

Despite suffering a concussion, Patterson does not want to press charges, saying, "I'm done with it, I've moved on. The guys I grew up with used to beat me up worse than that, so it's no big deal."

But the California Highway Patrol is now opening an investigation into the incident. On Wednesday, they asked for the public's help to identify the suspects in the shocking beating video.

Some skeptics have questioned the authenticity of the video, but an expert said it appears to be real.

"On my initial looking at it and looking at aspects of the video, just from an expert who has experience with documentary production and news production and seeing a lot of real-life videos, I believe that it's real. I believe that this footage is accurate in depicting what you see," said David Notowitz, a forensic video expert.

CHP Officer Chris Baldonado said they received multiple calls on the incident, which also leads authorities to believe the fight was real.

The video is a graphic reminder of how dangerous road rage can be. Patterson admitted that he should have tried harder to avoid the fight.

"Twenty-twenty hindsight, stay in the car, call authorities. Don't let your ego get in the way, it's not worth it," he said.

Baldonado said Patterson refused medical attention and left the scene less than two minutes after the altercation.

CHP officials want to talk to witnesses or anyone involved in the incident. People with information about the beating were asked to contact authorities at (213) 744-2331.


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