Handcuffed woman who fell from LAPD car sues, says officer assaulted her

Koreatown at night. In 2013, Kim Nguyen was in the neighborhood when she was arrested, then somehow ejected from an LAPD squad car.
(Jabin Botsford / Los Angeles Times)

A woman who was handcuffed in Koreatown on St. Patrick’s Day in 2013, then ejected from an LAPD squad car and seriously injured is claiming in a federal lawsuit filed Monday that the officers involved sexually battered her and the department is responsible.

Kim Nguyen, 29, filed the suit in connection with the incident, which was partially caught on security camera video in Koreatown.

Officers David Shin and Jin Oh arrested Nguyen for public intoxication after they saw her run across the street, the Los Angeles Times reported. Shin joined the force in 2010 and Oh in 2008.

Nguyen was cuffed and put in the back seat of the car off 6th Street between Oxford and Serrano avenues, an area with popular bars and nightclubs.

What happened after the officers drove off with Nguyen is at the center of the federal suit.


Nguyen said that somewhere on the drive to the station, the officers stopped the car and one of them climbed into the back and sexually assaulted her by “intentionally touching her in the left thigh, left chest/breast, and pulled on [her] left ear.”

As the officers traveled east on Olympic Boulevard about 3 a.m., Nguyen somehow was ejected from the back of the squad car, the suit states, and slammed onto the street. She told The Times that she didn’t try to open the door and couldn’t have anyway because she was handcuffed. The suit didn’t state whether the officer was allegedly in the back of the car at the time or had returned to the front seat.

A surveillance camera captured part of the scene; it didn’t capture Nguyen coming out of the car but does show Nguyen lying in the street with bruising visible on her face.

A copy of the video can be seen here. (Warning: Some images are graphic.)

In the video, Nguyen appears to be unconscious for a while as officers stand around her. Eventually, she moves a bit.

Police said Nguyen fell out as the car accelerated from a stop.

Nguyen’s attorney told The Times after the incident that Nguyen shattered her jaw and had bleeding in her brain. In the lawsuit, she also claims permanent emotional and psychological damage. She’s seeking unspecified damages. A state lawsuit filed by Nguyen against the city remains unresolved.

The Los Angeles city attorney’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

Staff writer Joel Rubin contributed to this report.

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