The man who filmed a police officer throwing a kick toward a bicyclist during a protest ride last weekend has filed a claim against the Los Angeles Police Department and the city of L.A. that alleges, in part, that he was thrown to the ground and kicked by at least two cops, one of whom is claimed to have stomped the cyclist's iPhone in an attempt to destroy evidence.
A statement from attorneys representing Manuel Gallegos claims he's the victim of “assault, battery, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” His video, captured by his iPhone, ended up on YouTube, and the incident inflamed tensions between cyclists and the LAPD.
According to a press release issued by his lawyers, the officers
… Tackled him, dragged him off of his bicycle and proceeded to beat and kick him. While lying on the ground Mr. Gallegos was given conflicting instructions from the LAPD officers- one told him to get up, while the other said to stay down. While Mr. Gallegos was on the ground, the video function on his iPhone continued to record, even while apparently being stomped on by an LAPD officer.
Rick Copeland, one of the attorneys representing Gallegos, told LA Weekly, “He's got some injuries. They kicked him when he was down.”
Gallegos was allegedly detained by the officers for 45 minutes and then issued a citation for unspecified vehicle code violations. He was apparently riding his bike as part of the protest. The claim does not specify how much money is being sought, but Copeland said it would be in excess of $10,000.
The Friday night incident has sparked an internal LAPD investigation, and the officers involved were taken off active duty and apparently put behind desks. Other riders also alleged that some of the cops who were patrolling the ride in Hollywood near Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue put their batons into riders' spokes, tacked bicyclists and drove patrol cars into the peloton.
The ride was organized by a somewhat anarchic group called Critical Mass to protest British Petroleum's role in the Gulf oil spill. Bicyclists ended up at a BP station in Beverly Hills that night.
Filing a claim against the city — they're usually denied — would be a first step toward a civil lawsuit.