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LAPD identifies suspect in May Day snare drum attack on officer

May 3, 2012 |  8:19 am

Los Angeles police said Thursday that they had arrested a 23-year-old transient in the "blindside" snare drum attack that injured a female officer during May Day protests.

Brian Mendoza, 23, was booked Wednesday by Los Angeles Police Department robbery-homicide detectives on suspicion of felony assault on a peace officer after an unidentified protester contacted investigators, according to police sources familiar with the arrest. He is known to frequent the downtown skid row area 

Mendoza is nearly 6 feet tall and weighs 280 pounds, according to the sources. The female officer, who suffered a partial concussion, is about 5'1" and weighs 115 pounds, police officials said. The impact of the blow jerked her head forward and dented her helmet, officials said.

PHOTOS: May Day protest

Authorities said Mendoza is on probation for a previous attack on a peace officer in El Monte.

The incident was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube under the title "Cheap Shot on Cop." In it, a man dressed in a black T-shirt and black hoodie is seen approaching the helmeted female officer, circling around behind her and striking her on the back of the head with the item before running off.

Police Chief Charlie Beck described the incident as a "blindside" attack on the officer, who was hospitalized as a precaution but was not seriously injured.  

Police are continuing to search for several masked suspects who attacked officers with a large wooden pallet in a separate incident.

The downtown incident unfolded when officers issued a call for help at 4th and Hill streets at about 4:20 p.m. Tuesday when demonstrators, many from the Occupy movement, began circling officers and chanting, "We are the 99%."  The crowd swelled as officers arrived by bicycle, motorcycle and on foot to quell the brewing confrontation.

At least 14 arrests were reported Tuesday, including three in North Hollywood, one downtown involving a false bomb threat against a bank, and 10 predesignated detentions at Los Angeles International Airport.

The incidents marred what were otherwise peaceful protests, which were largely nonviolent.


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-- Andrew Blankstein  (Twitter.com/anblanx)