A Venice skateboarder who was tackled by Los Angeles Police Department officers in a take-down caught on tape (video below) lost his federal civil suit against the city in court this week, police told us.
A friend of Ronald Weekley, Jr. said the skater was trying avoid some gang members nearby when police tried to stop him as he cruised on his board in Venice in August 2012.
Weekley's family later hired the same attorney who represented the parents of Trayvon Martin. The lawyer put Weekley in front of television cameras and asked if his client was “attacked because he was the wrong color:”
Weekley claimed he was injured by the Sixth Avenue pile-up, and video appears to show at least one officer punching him.
Defenders of the LAPD doubted Weekley's claims of injury because he was immediately booked into jail instead of hospitalized. Weekley said he had suffered a broken nose and fractured cheekbone.
A police spokesman said the college student was stopped because he was skating “in traffic, right in front of the officers,” which is illegal. Police also reportedly alleged that Weekley reached for a cop's gunbelt during the clash.
The department launched an internal investigation after the arrest.
While we doubted if officers would have treated a white skater in front of a suburban Whole Foods the same way, we also noted twice in our reportage that “Weekley probably could have avoided all this by simply complying.”
Maybe the federal jury felt the same way, because it found the city is not liable for any damages claimed by Weekley.
The LAPD had no official statement for us and a spokesman told the Weekly the City Attorney's office couldn't comment because it's not yet clear if the skater will appeal.