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News Release

Monday, July 2, 2012

Media Relations

Suspect Injured during Police Foot Chase NR12308rf

Los Angeles:  A man was injured when three Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Central Division officers working on a crime suppression assignment in the area of 7th Street and Central Avenue became involved in a foot pursuit.

On May 3, 2012, just before 9 p.m., a suspect attempting a narcotics transaction approached plainclothes officers in their vehicle.  When the suspect realized he had made contact with police officers, he ran east on 7th Street and was pursued by two of the officers, who caught up with him. As they arrested the suspect, a personal cell phone belonging to one of the officers fell on the ground, and a second suspect became involved.

The second suspect, later identified as 51-year-old Roger Purnell, picked up the cell phone and ran down the block with a third officer, Police Officer II Alberto Vasquez, in pursuit.  Shortly after the chase began, Purnell slipped off a curb, lost his balance and fell to the ground.  As Officer Vasquez then approached the suspect to take him into custody, Purnell resisted arrest, and Officer Vasquez struck him in his torso with his knee to subdue him. After that, Officer Vasquez was able to take the suspect into custody.

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel responded to the location and took Purnell to a local hospital where he was later diagnosed with a collapsed lung and a possible rib fracture.  No officers were injured during the incident and the Department’s Force Investigation Division is conducting a full investigation.

The investigation will ultimately be reviewed by the Chief of Police, the Office of the Inspector General and Board of Police Commissioners for compliance with the Department’s use-of-force policy which states that an officer’s use-of-force actions must be objectively reasonable.