An actor claims he and his girlfriend were racially profiled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department last Wednesday after the two were wrongfully detained at the Americana at Brand, and now they plan to sue the agency.
Darris Love and Ayesha Dumas had just finished a trip to the Apple Store and were about to drive away from the mall when they realized they forgot to get their parking ticket validated. Love got out of Dumas’ Honda Civic and sprinted back to the store to get the validation when he was surrounded by officers from the Glendale Police Department with their guns drawn.
He said he was thrown to the ground, had a knee pressed onto his neck and was placed in handcuffs.
Love, who has had roles in multiple television series including “ER” and “The Secret World of Alex Mack,” gave the details of his arrest during a press conference on Tuesday at the Cochran Law Firm in Los Angeles.
“It’s been hard sleeping, having a gun pulled [on you],” he said. “It wears on my peace of mind.”
Brian Dunn, a lawyer at Cochran, said the two were targeted by authorities because they’re black.
“There can be no explanation other than race,” he said. “There was absolutely nothing about my clients’ demeanor, about their actions or about their manner in dealing with law enforcement that … would have suggested criminal culpability to a reasonable police officer.”
The officers had been in the area searching for three burglary suspects who had fled to Glendale after sheriff’s deputies had staked out a home in Tarzana that had been ransacked.
At around noon, authorities tried to stop a black BMW connected to the burglary near Hayvenhurst Avenue and Vanowen Street in Van Nuys, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. It sped away, passing through North Hollywood and Burbank before turning into a parking structure at the Glendale Galleria.
Los Angeles police officer Carlos Zaragoza said at the time the suspects abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene on foot.
At about 12:50 p.m., officers arrested a man reportedly matching the description of one of the suspects at the Americana. That man turned out to be Love.
He asked the arresting officers to check the mall’s security camera footage, which would show him shopping with his girlfriend at the time of the burglary and chase. They refused, he said.
Love was then taken to the Galleria, where the suspects abandoned the BMW. A sheriff’s deputy at the scene subsequently told officers Love was one of the burglars.
“The sheriff identified me as the actual suspect that he saw come out [of] the house, jump into the car and did the high speed chase with, and he said ‘book him,’” Love said.
Meanwhile, officers approached Dumas, who was waiting for Love to return, and told her to get out of the vehicle.
“There were cars in front of where I was, but I was the only one held at gunpoint, with a canine dog barking at me,” she said.
Dumas said officers detained her for more than an hour as they searched through her vehicle.
Love, on the other hand, said he was detained for seven hours before being released. He said it was the work of two Los Angeles police officers, Daryl Scoggins and another, who helped get him out of custody.
It was those two who checked the mall’s security footage and confirmed his innocence, according to Love.
“They pulled the tapes from Apple. They pulled the tapes from Americana … they did it,” Love said.
A statement from the Los Angeles Police Department said Love was “mistakenly identified by the L.A. County sheriff’s department” and that he was in the department’s custody for “less than three hours and was released after it was determined he was not a suspect.”
Sheriff’s department officials said Love was arrested because he was “seen running away not far from the area where the pursuit terminated toward an illegally parked vehicle,” according to a statement.
“During the detention, LAPD officers conferred with major crimes detectives who initially identified Mr. Love as one of the burglary suspects seen leaving the residence.”
Love said he has not heard from the sheriff’s department since his arrest and has not received an apology for the incident.