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Veteran LAPD officers face assault and battery charges over off-duty incident

LAPD

Two Los Angeles police officers face criminal charges over an off-duty incident at a restaurant last October.

Prosecutors charged Officer Juan Zendejas, 47, with one felony count each of battery with serious bodily injury and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, with an allegation that he personally inflicted great bodily injury upon the victim, according to a statement from Shiara Davila-Morales, spokeswoman for Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey.

Zendejas pleaded not guilty late Tuesday. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 4, the statement said. He joined the LAPD in May 1998 and is assigned to the Hollenbeck Division.

Online court records show Rudolph Rivera faces a misdemeanor battery charge related to the incident. Records show Rivera also joined the department in 1998 and is assigned to the Hollenbeck Division.

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The incident occurred on Oct. 21, 2018. At the time, Zendejas “was leaving a restaurant in East Los Angeles when he allegedly confronted the victim who was talking with a female acquaintance. Zendejas is accused of punching the man, who fell unconscious. If convicted as charged, Zendejas faces a possible maximum sentence of seven years in state prison,” the statement said.

Lacey’s office declined to discuss Rivera’s role in the incident. Neither officer could be reached for comment.

Josh Rubenstein, the LAPD’s chief spokesman, said the department has opened an administrative investigation into the incident. The officers have been assigned to their homes pending the outcome of the investigation, he said.


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