Recently, there's been a rush of attention focusing on Sheriff Lee Baca and the never-ending crush of allegations of abuse at L.A. County's medieval jails.
And rightfully so (see here for further reading). But in all the clamor, it's easy to loose sight of some of the good ol' fashioned allegations of abuse happening right out there on our county's streets.
Allegations such as those made by Troy Dugan, a 61-year-old man who claims a pair of brutish deputies split his head open for no real reason at all.
Dugan says he was in Altadena trying to help his lady-friend resolve a dispute with her landlord, who was trying to evict Dugan's friend by throwing all of her personal belongings onto the front lawn.
Eventually, both Dugan and the landlord called the sheriff's department. Dugan walked inside the home to wait.
When the deputies arrived, Dugan claims in a federal lawsuit against L.A. County, they first spoke with the landlord, who was waiting for them outside.
Suddenly, Dugan says, the deputies rushed into the home with their guns drawn, ordering Dugan to stand up.
Dugan claims that, due to his age, he was slow to stand and that the deputies were getting impatient. That's when, claims Dugan, that a deputy holstered his gun and took out a can of pepper spray.
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What happened next sounds like the Keystone Cops meets the Bad Lieutenant.
According to the lawsuit:
As Mr. Dugan was rising out of the chair, he saw the deputy with the can of mace or pepper spray preparing to spray him. Mr. Dugan leaned backwards to avoid the spray. Mr. Dugan was unable to completely avoid the spray but one deputy also sprayed the other with mace or pepper spray.
Mr. Dugan turned to look at the deputy who had been sprayed and while his head was turned the other deputy stuck him in the head with something. The blow split open the side of Mr. Dugan's forehead and caused him to bleed profusely. The deputies then pushed or slammed Mr. Dugan into the wall, spreading blood all over the room and wall, and handcuffed him.
The deputies took Dugan to the hospital, where the elderly man says he received six stitches to his head. Dugan says that he was charged with obstructing a police officer but that the charges were dismissed months later before the case went to trial.