A New Year’s Eve incident in which a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy pulled a gun on a man in a parked car and threatened to shoot him is now the subject of an internal investigation.
“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 Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Friday announcing the probe into the “actions and language” of two patrol deputies.
It was unclear why the deputies approached the man, who identified himself on social media as rapper Feezy Lebron, in a parking lot in the 14900 block of Crenshaw Boulevard. But they did so Dec. 31 around 5:45 p.m. and ordered him out of a BMW sedan.
Body camera video released by the department showed the man with his hands raised asking repeatedly if he was under arrest and questioning the deputies’ instructions that he get out of the car. He said at one point, “Get out for what?”
One deputy held up a pepper spray canister and threatened to use it, then, a short time later, pointed his gun at the man and said, “I’m going to make it super easy on you: You put this car in drive, you’re getting one right to the chest.”
The deputy reiterated the threat several times, according to the recording. In its statement, the department described the deputy as using “unprofessional language.”
After the man was handcuffed, one of the deputies remarked, “Unfortunately for you, you shouldn’t smoke so much weed in your car. Then we wouldn’t have to search you.”
“I didn’t smoke no weed in my … car, and it’s not illegal,” the man replied.
A deputy then suggested the man had “anger issues.”
The man was later released with a citation for a missing license plate.
Rapper Lebron later posted what he said was audio of the encounter on social media along with the names and badge numbers of the deputies he alleged to be involved.
“Remember they jus want a reason to KILL you,” he wrote. “This is the norm.”
He did not immediately return messages and his attorney was unavailable to answer questions. The sheriff’s department said it could not provide the name of the man because he was not arrested.