updated 12/8/2006 11:06:34 AM ET 2006-12-08T16:06:34

A videotape shows an officer assaulting a handcuffed teenager inside a police station holding cell, but the images won’t be made public, the police chief said.

Sean Joseph Meade, 41, was arrested Thursday for investigation of assault under color of authority. He was released on $10,000 bail, and a court appearance was scheduled for Monday.

Police Chief William J. Bratton said the confrontation was part of an internal investigation, so the videotape won’t be released publicly.

The department is still wrestling with fallout from two recent and very public videotapes that appear to show officers using excessive force against suspects. Both of those were taken by amateurs on the streets.

Bratton said Meade assaulted the youth after he was arrested early Tuesday for a curfew violation. The teenager was in a juvenile holding cell with his hands cuffed behind his back and did not physically provoke the attack, the chief said.

Chief calls assault ‘inappropriate’
Bratton declined to provide details of what happened in the cell, but said no weapon was involved. The officer was apparently not aware of the camera, which had been set up to identify a vandal who had been damaging nearby office chairs.

“My concern was that the officer was engaged in an assault, which I felt was inappropriate,” Bratton said Thursday.

The teen was examined at a hospital but had no apparent injuries and remained at Juvenile Hall while police tried to locate his guardians, Bratton said.

Meade, a 13-year veteran of the force, was immediately suspended. It was unclear whether he had obtained legal counsel, which often is handled by the police union.

Los Angeles Police Protective League President Bob Baker said the union would be consulting with the officer, but wasn’t yet able to evaluate the facts of the case.

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