Friday, June 14, 2024

‘Disturbing’: LASD opens probe after video shows deputy throwing woman to the ground

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Cellphone footage of a deputy throwing a woman to the ground by her neck during an incident in Lancaster last month has prompted an investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

On June 24, Lancaster sheriff’s station deputies responded to a reported “in-progress robbery” at a WinCo Foods grocery store when they encountered a man and woman who matched the description of the suspects given by store security guards on the 911 call.

Deputies detained the man in the parking lot when the woman began filming the incident with her cellphone.

A witness also filmed the encounter from the parking lot.

“You can’t touch me,” the woman can be heard telling the deputy off-camera.

Footage from the witness’ cellphone showed the deputy forcefully throwing the woman to the ground before cuffing her soon after.

Authorities learned of the video after the arrests.

The department called the footage “disturbing” in a press release announcing the probe late Monday night.

“Sheriff [Robert] Luna has made it clear that he expects Department personnel to treat all members of the public with dignity and respect, and that personnel who do not uphold our training standards will be held accountable,” the department said.

Both deputies who responded to the robbery call have been taken off field duty pending review, according to the department.

Citing transparency concerns, the department released body-worn camera footage from the first two deputies on the scene but cautioned that additional facts may come to light that were not captured on video.

One video depicted a deputy approaching the woman who was suspected of robbery and reaching for her phone as she was filming a few feet away from where the man was being handcuffed.

After she was forced to the ground, the deputy pepper sprayed and handcuffed her.

“All you had to do was listen,” he later told the woman.

“I didn’t do anything,” she replied.

The woman claimed the deputy was angry at her because she filmed the encounter and claimed to have already streamed the footage on YouTube live.

The man and woman were cited and released, but a department spokesperson did not disclose to The Times what they were cited for.

The investigation will determine if the use of force in the incident was reasonable and appropriate.

In the meantime, a protest is being organized at the grocery store Wednesday at 5 p.m. by several groups, including the Community Action League.

Chief among the demands is the termination of the deputy who forced the woman to the ground.

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