A video released on Tuesday showed the moment that three good samaritans saved a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer who was being beaten on the side of the freeway last Friday.
The cellphone showed the officer confronting 33-year-old Jaime Paniagua who was yelling at a passing motorist and trying to remove a freeway sign.
As the officer went back to his motorcycle, the man attacked him. At this point, Everado Navarro rushed in and started swinging at the Paniagua. After Navarro called for help, two other bystanders jumped in to help subdue the suspect.
“I see the officer down, I was concerned about the guy grabbing the officer’s gun and shooting the officer,” he told KTLA 5. “I punched the guy from the back, but I feel like it didn’t do anything. Like he was super strong, like he didn’t even feel it.”
“I will do that for anybody anytime,” Navarro concluded.
CHP Officer Anselmo Templado praised the actions of the three men. “I just want to thank those three good samaritans for helping out our officer,” he said. “It’s not very often that you see something like that. Usually, it’s just people recording and standing by, but I just want to thank those three Good Samaritans for helping out our officer. It could’ve ended very badly, but luckily for them no one was seriously injured, and we got the subject under control.”
According to the report, the officer was going to let Paniagua go with a warning. After the incident, he was charged with assault and battery on a peace officer and resisting arrest.
The CHP said that the officer was released from the hospital with no serious injuries.
Attacks against police officers have been on the rise since cities and states have pushed to defund them. An August report showed a 14 percent increase in the number of officers shot over the year before. This number did not include the officers shot at but not struck.
Crime rose by 10 percent across America's largest cities between Q1 2021 and Q1 2023.
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