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Subject 2 off-duty LAPD officers arrested for allegedly pistol-whipping man in Whittier [Updated]
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Original Message [link to latimesblogs.latimes.com]

2 off-duty LAPD officers arrested for allegedly pistol-whipping man in Whittier [Updated]
January 27, 2010 | 8:37 am
Two off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officers have been arrested for allegedly pistol-whipping a man during a fight in Whittier, authorities said this morning.

One of the officers apparently got into an argument with his girlfriend about 8 p.m. Tuesday outside a Panera Bread restaurant in the 15600 block of Whittwood Lane, the Whittier Police Department said in a statement.

Witnesses told police the officer took issue with a bystander, who was watching the altercation while talking on his cellphone, and struck the man in the face. A fight ensued, during which one of the officers allegedly pulled out a handgun and began hitting the victim in the head, the statement said.

The victim was able to break free, but both off-duty officers chased after him and tackled him to the ground, where the assault continued, the statement said. The victim eventually escaped by running into a nearby Target store.

The victim was treated at the scene and taken to a hospital for further evaluation. The two officers were arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. They have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, LAPD officials said.

[Updated at 9:15 a.m.: The Whittier Police Department has identified the arrested officers as Brandon Valdez, 29, and Patrick Fitzgerald, 38.]

-- Alexandra Zavis and Andrew Blankstein
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