LAPD Releases Security and Body Camera Video From Attack on Officers at Harbor Station

Newly released recordings show how an officer was attacked by a man in the lobby of the Harbor Station and narrowly escaped being shot.

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Segments of security and body-worn-video recordings that captured an attack on officers at the LAPD’s Harbor Station were shown publicly Wednesday, a day after the Department said it planned to investigate how one segment of the video was leaked to reporters in the hours after the incident.

The edited presentation posted by the LAPD to YouTube shows an exterior view of the police station on the night of Sept. 26, when a man driving a white Chevy pickup truck drives towards the front door of the public lobby and parks outside.

The video then switches to a view from a security camera inside the Harbor Station lobby that shows one officer, now identified as Anthony Freeman, walking to the front doors of the lobby and meeting the man who was driving the pickup.

Over the next minute and forty seconds the security camera recording captures the attack on Freeman, in which he’s knocked to the ground, punched and beaten with the butt of his department-issued Beretta pistol, and in which the attacker exchanges gunfire with a second officer.

Body-worn-video from Freeman’s camera shows a much closer view of the pickup truck driver, who police identified as Jose Cerpa Guzman, 29, wearing a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses, taking a fists-up fighting stance and throwing punches at Freeman.

The recording shows the men struggling over Freeman’s gun, and at several moments, the gun being pointed directly at Freeman’s body, where LAPD Chief Michel Moore said last week, the attacker appeared to try to shoot the officer. 

“Help out here,” Freeman can be heard saying in the body worn video clip.

The second officer shouts, “What happened?” Freeman says, “He got my gun!,” and within a second police say Guzman fired a shot from Freeman’s pistol. 

A 29-year-old accused of pistol-whipping an officer and shooting at another at a San Pedro station faces attempted murder charges. Eric Leonard reports Sept. 29, 2020.

The second officer, Robin Aguirre, then ducks behind a bench and fires as Guzman leaves through the lobby doors, and the headlights of his pickup truck can be seen moving away from the windows.

Officer Freeman’s blood can be seen dripping on to the floor of the lobby. In the early chaos in the minutes after the lobby fight and shooting and the subsequent chase and arrest of Guzman, some police officials said they believed Freeman had been shot during the confrontation. 

In fact, Freeman had suffered a head injury as a result of being struck with the handgun. Freeman was released from the hospital after treatment. Officer Aguirre was not injured, the LAPD said.

Guzman was charged last week with two counts of attempted murder of a peace officer, two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, and one count each of robbery, evading, and resisting an officer, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. 

On Tuesday LAPD Assistant Chief Robert Arcos told the Board of Police Commissioners an internal affairs investigation had been opened to find out how media outlets obtained a segment of the security video in the days after the attack.

“A formal complaint has been initiated by professional standards bureau,” Arcos said.

Last week Chief Moore told the Commissioners that the Harbor attack was just the latest example of an increase in the number of assaults on police officers. 

“We’ve seen a 156% increase this year to date. That's 282 felonious assaults versus 110, during the same period last year,” the Chief said. 

Moore said the morning of the Harbor incident an off-duty officer leaving the West Valley station in Reseda was fired at by a man driving a gray pickup truck. The officer was uninjured though the officer’s car was struck by 3 bullets, police said.

The motives for both attacks remained under investigation.

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