After deputy throws woman to ground, Luna says probe will go beyond viral video

L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna in a a profile head-and-shoulders frame, speaking and gesturing with his left arm.
L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna, shown at a 2022 news conference, said Wednesday that discipline as well as dismissal were “all on the table” in discussing an altercation between a woman and a deputy outside a Lancaster grocery store.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna on Wednesday provided new details about an investigation into an altercation in Lancaster in which a deputy threw a woman to the ground.

The department on Monday released body camera footage of the June 24 incident, and the sheriff said discipline as well as dismissal were “all on the table.”

Luna said at Wednesday’s news conference that the department’s investigation into the incident would go beyond the viral video, which he called “disturbing,” and take into account events leading up to the incident. He also mentioned that deputies’ workload and stress would be taken into consideration.


“Out in the Antelope Valley,” he said, “it’s one of the busiest stations we have in the entire county.”

VIDEO | 02:05
Sheriff’s Department video shows woman’s arrest by Lancaster deputy

Body camera footage released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shows a deputy confronting a woman who filmed him with a cellphone before throwing her to the ground and pepper spraying her. The department is investigating the incident.

The footage was captured in the parking lot of WinCo Foods on Avenue K during the arrest of two theft suspects, a man and a woman. Luna said an employee at the grocery store initially called law enforcement to report an altercation with a loss prevention officer at the market.

Two deputies were dispatched to the reported “robbery in progress” and found a man who matched a suspect’s description in the parking lot. As the man was being detained by deputies, a woman was filming the arrest on her phone.

One of the deputies responded by walking over to the woman and reaching for her arm, seemingly in an attempt to take the phone. He grabbed her arm and threw her on the ground, repeatedly commanding her to stop. The footage shows the deputy arguing with the woman as he detains her, threatening to punch her in the face at one point. He then pepper sprays the woman’s face and handcuffs her.

The clip has generated widespread criticism of the deputy’s use of force.

Bernard Robins, who was detained outside his parents’ South L.A. home by fellow LAPD officers, said the episode typifies the style of biased policing that’s practiced in some parts of the city.

July 5, 2023

“No one likes to see that,” Luna said. Use of force is troubling “with any community member,” he said, “but obviously there is a woman in this video.”


Luna said the department’s internal investigation was being done to determine whether the deputy’s use of force was reasonable, necessary, appropriate and proportional. Law enforcement oversight agencies have been notified of the incident, he said, including federal monitors, a civilian oversight group and the Office of the Inspector General for Los Angeles County.

“Is it a training issue? Absolutely could be,” Luna said. “Is it misconduct that could lead to discipline — from lower levels of discipline all the way to dismissal? That’s all on the table.”

Luna declined Wednesday to name the deputies or the people arrested in the video.

“Out of respect, I don’t want to name anybody at this point,” Luna said. “I’m sure that will come at a later time.”

He added that the two deputies had since been removed from “field duty,” while the man and woman arrested were cited and released. The man was cited on suspicion of resisting an officer, attempted petty theft and interfering with a business. The woman was hospitalized due to the pepper spray and abrasions to her arm, and was cited upon release on suspicion of assaulting an officer and battery after assaulting loss prevention personnel.

Luna did not provide details about the relationship between the two suspects or whether they had taken anything from the store. He spoke briefly on the scope of the investigation.

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July 5, 2023

“We also have to look at the response: who called, what they said, our station personnel, what they heard, what they dispatched,” Luna said.


Luna said that employee wellness would factor into the investigation: “At the end of the day, we’re short-handed at a lot of our patrol stations, if not all of them.”

He wrapped up his public comments by calling the internal investigation a “priority” and said that he had instructed investigators to reach a conclusion within 45 days.