The family of an undocumented man injured during an arrest in Downtown LA is considering a lawsuit against the LA Sheriff's Department. Alexis Torres, 31, was released Thursday on an immigration hold. Torres' attorney says the suspect suffered from memory loss and speech problems since the incident. An internal investigation is already underway at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Lolita Lopez reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 27, 2012.
A man who was seen on video getting stomped on the head by a sheriff's deputy now has memory loss and slurred speech, according to family members, and his attorney is considering whether to file a civil lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
After his violent arrest in downtown Los Angeles more than two weeks ago, 31-year-old LA resident Alexis Torres was released Thursday evening from federal custody.
He appeared visibly shaking and unable to remember the details of what happened to him in an interview after his release.
Torres had been transferred this week to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Santa Ana after a "routine" sweep of a county jail found that he was in the country illegally from El Salvador.
Now back at home with his mother Maria Sorto in their USC-area residence, Torres cannot quite remember what happened to him. He was "sad and dazed" while in custody, his South Pasadena attorney Luis Carrillo said.
"His mama is concerned because he has memory loss. … He did not have memory loss before he was arrested," Carrillo said.
"I am going to send him for a neurological examination to see whether he has any permanent neurological damage, and that will determine whether a civil suit will be filed against the Sheriff's Department," Carrillo added.
Torres' mother said in Spanish that she's worried about his slurred speech and loss of memory. Family members had said he suffers from depression and anxiety; Torres said he received medical treatment while in custody.
Torres was released without bond, though he is required to wear an ankle bracelet that monitors his whereabouts. His mother and a church that is supporting the family had been "scrambling" to raise $4,000 bail, Carrillo said.
Torres, a construction worker, had been arrested July 9 on suspicion of groping a woman's breasts, an allegation he denied.
The arrest took place near First and Hope streets, where a Telemundo news crew happened to be in the area on an unrelated story. The crew, from NBC4's sister station, caught three deputies pinning Torres to the ground.
One deputy can be seen elbowing Torres repeatedly in the head, and then stomping on his head with a boot.
Misdemeanor charges related to the allegations against Torres have not been filed by the City Attorney's Office. The office has a year to file charges, a spokesman said.
"We did receive a copy of the case. It's still under a review. No filing decisions have been made yet," said Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the City Attorney's Office.
Meanwhile, a deputy involved in Torres' arrest has been suspended with pay and is the subject of an ongoing internal criminal investigation, according to Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department.
The consulate of El Salvador had requested that Torres be given a special visa so that he can remain in the United States.
Carrillo said deportation is expected, though the process may take months.
"The only thing that could save Alexis Torres is if there's a criminal file by the District Attorney against this deputy, and they need him as a witness," Carrillo said.
A spokeswoman with Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a statement on Torres' status on Friday afternoon.
"Mr. Torres was released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody yesterday on his own recognizance under electronic monitoring. He is currently in removal proceedings, pending a hearing before an immigration judge," the statement read.