Advertisement

Woman accuses LAPD of ‘completely unnecessary’ treatment during false 911 call

LAPD downtown headquarters
A woman says LAPD officers handcuffed her and her partner in a “completely unnecessary” show of force.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Share

A woman has accused the Los Angeles Police Department of mishandling a false report of domestic violence at her Hollywood Hills West apartment, saying officers handcuffed her and her partner in a “completely unnecessary” show of force.

Cindy Chu, an actress who has appeared on “Hawaii Five-O” and “MacGyver,” among other TV shows, recounted the incident in a Twitter thread that went viral Monday. She said she and her partner had just arrived home from dinner about 9:30 p.m. Sunday when LAPD officers banged on their door. The officers, she said, demanded that the couple come out of the apartment, where they were handcuffed and separated from each other.

Chu said the abrasive treatment continued as officers grilled them about their relationship, even after she and her partner said a 911 call reporting a violent incident at the apartment was false, and the officers must have the wrong address. The officers, Chu wrote in the thread, confirmed that the 911 caller had given police her address.

Advertisement

“I understand cops need to protect themselves, too, or that if something had been going on that the victim may try to lie when cops show up, but the initial force and yelling we experienced wasn’t necessary,” Chu said in a statement to The Times.

“I think I even told the male cop he was scaring me and freaking me out with his behavior,” she added.

An LAPD spokesman on Tuesday said the department had opened an investigation into the officers’ conduct based on the thread Chu posted, which had been liked nearly 30,000 times as of Tuesday. As part of the inquiry, investigators will review video from cameras worn by the officers.

Chu said she requested under the state’s open records law a copy of the 911 call directing police to her home. She said she wondered whether the call had been an incident of “swatting,” in which someone reports a fake emergency to harass or endanger the person at the address.

Swatting incidents, which have turned deadly, have been used repeatedly in recent years to harass Black Lives Matter Los Angeles leader Melina Abdullah.

The LAPD did not answer a question from The Times as to whether officers had contacted the 911 caller after determining that the report of domestic violence was false.

Advertisement

Chu said she understands that police officers responding to domestic violence calls must try to discern whether someone has been assaulted and ensure that victims aren’t downplaying the incident because they fear their assailant. Nonetheless, she said, the LAPD officers she encountered crossed a line.

“I’m upset ... that innocent people are treated like criminals until proven innocent,” she said. “That’s not how our system is supposed to work.”

Advertisement