Videotapped beating victim arrested

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(CNS) – The victim in an apparent road-rage beating on the Golden State (5) Freeway was arrested today in connection with a previous driving under the influence, hit and run and battery case, police announced.

Jerry Patterson, 50, was arrested just before noon today as a result of a warrant issued in Long Beach, Officer Saul Gomez of the California Highway Patrol said. “The warrant stems from an incident on May 25 at the intersection of Corona (Avenue) and The Toledo,” Nancy Pratt of the Long Beach Police Department said. “A hit-and-run collision occurred, and the driver fled the scene. He was followed by a witness to another location.”

Pratt said the witness made contact with Patterson and was assaulted by him.

“Police arrived and the suspect driver was arrested for DUI, non-injury hit and run and battery,” Pratt said. “He did not show up for court and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was arrested today by CHP.”

California Highway Patrol officers arrested David Mendez, 21, and Edras Ramirez, 27, both of Los Angeles, and booked them on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon in the 5 Freeway brawl — which was caught on camera, according to CHP Officer Ming Hsu of the agency’s public affairs office.

Mendez and Ramirez went to a CHP office about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and were interviewed and arrested, Hsu said. Arraignment was scheduled for Friday morning in downtown Los Angeles, Hsu said.

Investigators had not decided whether charges are warranted against their alleged victim, Patterson, before his arrest today.

A smartphone video of the confrontation was posted Tuesday on the website LiveLeak, and received more than 130,000 hits within hours.

At a news briefing Wednesday morning, CHP Officer Denise Joslin said the fight apparently occurred about 3:30 p.m. June 12 on the northbound 5 Freeway south of Seventh Street in the East LA Interchange.

The video depicts Patterson arguing with three men outside their cars on the side of the freeway. Patterson and one of the three men square off and exchange blows, but then a second man jumps Patterson and helps take him to the ground.

Patterson told ABC7 he was trying to drive away from his assailants but they chased him down and blocked his vehicle. “As I remember it, I’m trying to get away. They followed me,” Jerry Patterson told the station. “It got to a point where they blocked me on the freeway. I couldn’t back up, couldn’t move forward. The guy got out of the car, and so I got out with him. I wasn’t going to let him walk up on me, and I just defended myself to the best of my ability.”

On the video, shortly after he was knocked to the ground, Patterson appeared to fall unconscious. The two suspects then repeatedly kicked him in the head as he lay on the pavement with his arms at his sides.

The three men then got into an older model Volkswagen Jetta and fled the scene. The video showed the Volkswagen’s license plate number as 3UGW962, and authorities sought public help to find the suspects.

Last night, apparently in response to the publicity, Mendez and Ramirez went to the CHP office to talk with investigators, who arrested them. Anyone with more information on the case was urged to call the CHP Central Area office at (213) 744-2331.

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