L.A. County sheriff reviewing deputies’ actions in video recorded by suspects complaining of harassment
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is reviewing the actions of deputies captured on video confronting three men in a gray sedan who complained of unlawful harassment.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he does not want to “Monday morning quarterback” the incident, which began with the three men sitting in the car after being pulled over, until investigations into the suspects’ and deputies’ conduct are complete.
His primary concern at the moment is for the welfare of a deputy who was allegedly kicked in the stomach by the driver and broke her arm in three places when she fell to the ground, he said in answer to reporters’ questions at a news briefing Wednesday.
“If you have a doubt about the actions of a peace officer, you’re not going to improve the situation by resisting violently, resisting with force,” Villanueva said.
In the video, posted May 25 on YouTube, the men make a phone call to ask for a supervisor as a male deputy hovers at the driver’s side door.
“You just stuck your hand in here and tried to open the door,” one of the men says. “Like what hell? Just ask me.”
“You’re over here yapping, so I’m just letting you yap,” the deputy responds.
A female deputy arrives, saying: “Relax. Just relax.”
Eventually, the male deputy opens the door and attempts to handcuff the driver. A tussle ensues inside the car, as the driver resists and the deputy puts a hand on the suspect’s head, knocking his hat off.
The men shout for help in English and Spanish.
One of the men says they were stopped for having tinted windows. The Sheriff’s Department has not commented on why the men were pulled over.
The driver ends up face down on the ground with both deputies trying to handcuff him. The alleged kick in the stomach and injury to the female deputy are not apparent in the video.
The driver was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, resisting an officer with force and driving without a license, Villanueva said. One passenger was arrested on suspicion of failing to comply with a lawful order, and the other on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sale.
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