New Documents Released in Police Beating - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

New Documents Released in Police Beating

By Al Pefley  email

West Palm Beach, FL (WFLX)

We've obtained almost 150 pages of new documents detailing the police beating of a robbery suspect in May 2008.

The beating victim had just held up a pharmacy and the attack was captured on video.  The paperwork we got from the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office includes witness statements and  photos.

It reveals the two West Palm Beach officers not only used too much force, but they also made up a story to try to justify what they had done.

The beating was captured on a dashboard camera in a West Palm Beach Police squad car.

The video shows a man who had just robbed a CVS Pharmacy at 6800 South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach on the ground,  face down,  in handcuffs. 

Two officers, Kurt Graham and Louis Schwartz, take turns kicking him.

Newly released documents reveal within hours of the incident, at police headquarters,  the two officers put their heads together to make up a story, to try to justify their actions, after a supervisor questioned their actions that night.

Records say the two of them met outside briefly,  then returned to a booking area to complete their police reports and "...did justify their excessive use of force."

Graham and Schwartz said they kicked the man,  Pablo Valenzuela of West Palm Beach,  to try to kick a folding knife away from him and because he was trying to bite one of them.

It turns out the man did have a knife, but it was not found until after the beating when his backpack was emptied out.

The documents say quote: "At no time was the knife in the area of Valenzuela when Schwartz and Graham kicked him...."

As for the claim that Valenzuela had tried to bite them, a police training instructor didn't buy that.

In a sworn statement, he told internal affairs that in his opinion it would not have been possible for Valenzuela, who was handcuffed face down on the ground with a knee in his back,  to have bitten the officers.

And the training officer said rather than kick him, all they had to do was take a step back.

Both Graham and Schwartz were later fired by West Palm Beach Police.

They were arrested last month, released from jail, and are due back in court in late July.


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