The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) released videos of an incident where one of its deputies appears to slam a woman on the ground in Lancaster.
The incident occurred June 24 at a WinCo Foods parking lot, as deputies responded to a call for in-progress robbery. The footage shows a Black man handcuffed as a woman recorded with her phone, off to the side.
Phone footage of the incident was recorded by an eyewitness and later posted by Black Lives Matter co-founder Melina Abdullah.
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The deputies then seemingly turn their attention to the woman and take her down to the ground saying, “Stop, or you’re going to get punched in the face.”
The woman responded to the officer by saying, “If you punch me, you’re going to get sued.”
As the struggle continued, the deputy pepper-sprayed the woman and handcuffed her.
“As deputies attempted to detain the individuals described by store security personnel, the encounter escalated into a use of force incident captured by a community member with a cell phone camera,” LASD said in the press release. “The video is disturbing. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has initiated an investigation of this incident.”
LASD said it will use the body-worn camera footage, as surveillance footage and cell phone video taken from someone present, as it continues its investigation.
The deputies involved in the incident were re-assigned from “field duty” while the investigation continues.
“While the Department does not make statements related to ongoing investigations, Sheriff 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 press release said. “In the interest of transparency with our community, the Sheriff’s Department is releasing body-worn camera video from the incident.”
A protest is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to Abdullah, where they will call for the termination of the officers, the Lancaster station captain and changes to WinCo’s customer treatment policies.
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