Producer Charges Brutality by Police : Law enforcement: He says L.A. and Santa Monica officers mistook him for a robber and roughed him up. The departments say the incident was handled properly.

Share via

Rap music producer DJ. Pooh says he was brutalized by police who mistook him for a bank robbery suspect last week and plans to file suit against the law enforcement agencies involved for treatment that he says led to torn knee ligaments and mental distress.

DJ. Pooh--who produces records for controversial rapper Ice Cube and others whose music addresses police brutality themes--said in an interview that his 1992 Chevrolet Suburban truck was surrounded last Friday morning by 25 to 30 police cars and a helicopter and that he was shoved face down on the pavement and forced to lie handcuffed for 30 minutes before police realized he was not related to the robbery and released him.

Spokesmen for the Los Angeles and Santa Monica police departments, while confirming that DJ. Pooh was stopped, insisted that no impropriety occurred.


The producer said he was driving from the Culver City offices of his company, Da Bomb Records, with an assistant, Rick Freeman, to meet Ice Cube at a recording studio near Glendale when a Santa Monica police car began following him on the San Diego Freeway. Although the police car did not turn on its lights or indicate he should pull over, it continued tailing him onto three more freeways.

“I was going 55. I didn’t do 54, I didn’t do 56,” said DJ. Pooh.

As he got off the Golden State Freeway at Los Feliz, he said, the officers turned on their emergency lights and pulled him over. During the incident cars from the Santa Monica and Los Angeles police departments and the California Highway Patrol were present, he said. A number of officers had their guns drawn, he said.

Using a bullhorn, one officer ordered him to keep his hands up and to “get out the car or you will get shot on the count of three,” and started counting, DJ. Pooh said. He said he got out of the car and walked backward toward the officer with his fingers laced over his head, as he was ordered to do.

“I felt like they were going to kill me,” DJ. Pooh said. “All I could think about was my daughter and will I see her again,” said the producer.

DJ. Pooh, 26, said a policeman then grabbed his hands and pushed him to the ground from behind with a knee. “He said, ‘Put your face on the concrete, ass----. Don’t move or I’ll shoot your f------ brain out.’ He’s pushing my face into the concrete. I had rocks embedded in my face,” the producer said.

Freeman, according to the producer, was also made to lie on the ground. Both men were told they were suspects in a bank robbery in Santa Monica and were forced to remain face down on the pavement for 30 minutes while their truck was searched, said DJ. Pooh, whose real name is Mark Jordan.


The producer said that once police found that there was no money in the truck and that he had no arrest warrants against him, he was released. He said a Santa Monica police officer told him it was a Los Angeles policeman who had treated him roughly. “He said he was terribly sorry for what happened,” DJ. Pooh said.

According to Santa Monica police spokesman Sgt. Garry Gallinot, the incident was an outgrowth of a robbery Friday morning in which three black men in their 20s, wearing ski masks, held up the Santa Monica Consumers’ Credit Union with 9-millimeter semiautomatic weapons. There was no description of a getaway car, he said.

A Santa Monica police officer began following DJ. Pooh’s vehicle after it “started making erratic movements and moving at a high rate of speed,” Gallinot said. The officer suspected that the car might be associated with the robbery because “the time frame put them in proximity and (because of) their evasive actions and high speed.”

The officer, who was alone, radioed for assistance and continued following the car, Gallinot said. When a Los Angeles police car joined him at the interchange of the Santa Monica and Golden State freeways, the Suburban “moved across three lanes and made evasive action and actually changed freeways,” Gallinot said.

After the vehicle was stopped, there were “at the most” seven law enforcement cars present, Gallinot said. The two men were handcuffed by Santa Monica police and then turned over to the Los Angeles officers, who made them lie on the pavement, Gallinot said.

“L.A. had them face down on the pavement behind their cars” to keep them out of any gunfire that might be exchanged with the third suspect that police thought might still be in the vehicle, Gallinot said.


However, Sgt. Tom Cunningham of the LAPD’s Northeast Division said, “As far as I know it was Santa Monica (officers) who handled the suspects. Our officers didn’t have any contact with them. It’s a Santa Monica caper.”

“At no time was there any impropriety by any officers,” Gallinot said. After it was explained to the men that police had been searching for bank robbery suspects, Gallinot said, “They seemed to be very happy with that (explanation).”

Apparently not. Said DJ. Pooh: “We just went through the riots over this. It’s still not stopping. It doesn’t matter who’s the chief of police.”