Trials & Litigation

Lawyer Plans Extreme Pretrial Makeover for Client in Alleged Police Abuse Case

  • Print.

When Richard Rodriguez was arrested in May by El Monte, Calif., police after a televised car chase, his booking photo showed the 23-year-old with a shaved head and covered in tattoos.

But before he goes to trial in the tort claim he filed yesterday over an apparent kick in the head by an arresting officer that also was included in the live television coverage, Rodriguez will be getting an extreme makeover, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A business shirt and tie will cover most of the tattoos, in addition to looking sharp with the suit Rodriguez will be wearing, and a Tom Selleck mustache will cover the gang name tattoo above Rodriguez’ mouth, according to attorney Nick Pacheco, who represents the alleged gang member. Meanwhile, growing his hair long enough to comb into a standard corporate style will also lend to Rodriguez’ credibility, Pacheco said at a press conference yesterday, proving his point with a Photoshopped image of his client as he will look after the makeover.

“People get past looks when you put on a suit and your hair is grown,” Pacheco says.

The claim he filed yesterday with the El Monte Police Department seeks $5 million for the head injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder Rodriguez allegedly suffered as a result of the apparent kick and other “excessive force” while he was lying on the ground and seemingly not resisting arrest, according to the Whittier Daily News and other media reports. Authorities also allegedly used pepper spray, a flashlight and a police dog against Rodriguez as he lay on the ground unresisting.

Among other symptoms, Rodriguez now suffers from headaches and blurred vision, Pacheco contends. If the $5 million claim is rejected by El Monte, his next step would be to file a lawsuit over the incident.

However, police representatives say the manner in which the arrest was made may have been appropriate. “The claim is all attorney spin,” says attorney Bruce Praet, who is acting as special counsel for El Monte in the matter. “There is nothing particularly objective or factual about it.”

Additional coverage:

FOX News: “California Police Launch Investigation After Officer Allegedly Kicks Suspect in Head After Chase”

LA Daily (LA Weekly): “Gangster Metamorphosis: Richard Rodriguez’s Big Makeover”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.