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02:51 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

At least seven Los Angeles police officers were removed from their field duties after using excessive force during recent protests, the police department told CNN Wednesday.

The move comes as police across the nation have come under fire for violent responses to demonstrators protesting police brutality. Critics have pointed to the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and in several cases, physical actions as examples of excessive force.

“The Los Angeles Police Department continues to investigate allegations of misconduct, violations of Department policy, and excessive force during the recent civil unrest,” police said in a statement. “Seven employees have been assigned to non-field duties due to improper actions during the protests.”

The department has assigned 40 investigators to “look into every complaint thoroughly” and “hold every officer accountable for their actions,” the department said. Fifty-six complaints are currently being investigated, with 28 involving alleged uses of force, Los Angeles police said.

After facing backlash over how LAPD officers treated demonstrations during the first week of protests, city officials announced they would not prosecute those arrested for curfew violations and failure to disperse.

The protests in Los Angeles and across the country began after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Several organizations and city leaders spoke out about reports of Los Angeles police behavior during protests.

“I am alarmed by the growing number of disturbing accounts and images of peaceful protesters being assaulted with plastic bullets, Tasers, batons, physical force, and of reports that protestors were detained unnecessarily by law enforcement during last weekend’s George Floyd solidarity protests,” LA Councilman Mike Bonin said in a letter to Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has also said the police commission will look at video and the tactics used by officers to see if they followed laws appropriately when dealing with protesters, CNN affiliate KABC reported.

Other officers under fire

Los Angeles officers aren’t the only ones facing criticism.

In Philadelphia, a police inspector is facing charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime and recklessly endangering another person, after video captured him hitting a protester on the head with a metal baton.

Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna was suspended by his department for 30 days this week with intent to dismiss after that time, police told CNN. He was arraigned Monday but did not enter a plea. In a statement to CNN, attorney Fortunato N. Perri said Bologna’s use of force was “lawful and justified.”

In Buffalo, New York, two police officers were suspended and charged with assault after shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground, causing him to bleed from him head. The two have pleaded not guilty.

Fifty-seven more officers resigned from the force’s emergency response team following the two officers’ suspensions.

And in Atlanta, six officers were charged last week after video captured the group using excessive force toward two college students – yanking one out of the car and tasing the driver.

The pair said they weren’t at Atlanta’s protests, but instead were on their way home from picking up food when they got caught in traffic downtown.

In a police report, one of the officers said that he used his Taser because he was unsure whether the two students were armed.