The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said it is launching an investigation after one of its deputies was shown on bodycam video pointing a gun at a driver and threatening to shoot him in the chest.
The incident happened Dec. 31 after deputies on patrol came upon the man sitting in a car in a parking lot on the 14900 block of Crenshaw Boulevard, the LASD’s Information Bureau said in a news release Friday. The interaction resulted in the man getting a ticket for a missing license plate, but though he was detained, he was not arrested, the department noted.
“While the Department does not make statements related to ongoing investigations, 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 LASD wrote.
The department released video from the perspective of the deputy who threatened to shoot. The video begins with the deputy walking toward the vehicle as another deputy stands next to the open driver’s side door.
The audio begins as the first deputy approaches the car. The other deputy is reaching into the vehicle, apparently grabbing at the man sitting in the driver’s seat. The first deputy flashes a light into the driver’s side and says, “Hi, hi. What are you doing?” Immediately after, someone says, “Stop, stop, stop,” though it’s unclear if it’s the second deputy or the man in the driver’s seat.
Immediately after that, the first deputy says that he is going to pepper spray the man. He takes out a can of pepper spray, points it at the man and tells him he is going to spray him. The man asks the reason for why he will get sprayed, to which the deputy responds by telling him to get out of the car or be sprayed.
The man asks why he needs to exit the vehicle, after which the deputy puts away the pepper spray, takes out his handgun and points it at the man. The man immediately puts his hands up while seated in the driver’s seat. The time between the deputy saying, “Hi” and pulling out the gun is about 17 seconds.
“You take off in this car, I’m gonna shoot you. I’m gonna make it super easy on you: you put this car in drive, you’re getting one right to the chest,” the officer says. “I don’t care what you got. I don’t care if you got bull—- on you, but guess what bro, now you gotta deal with it. But if you pull some bull—-, you’re gonna take one to the chest.”
The man keeps his hands up during the entirety of the interaction. He tells the deputy, “You say you’re gonna shoot me,” to which the deputy replies that he will “absolutely” fire and that the man will be “done” if he doesn’t “listen.”
“If you don’t listen, you’re done. You understand me?” the deputy says.
The deputy then tells the man to comply, prompting him to ask what he should be complying to. The deputy then tells the man that if he moves his hands, he’s “in trouble.” The man asks the deputy if he’s going to shoot him while pointing out that he’s sitting in the car.
The deputy radios for backup while still pointing the gun. The man again says that he’s “sitting in the damn car,” prompting the officer to again tell him that he’s “done” if he moves his hands.
“So am I under arrest or what, bro? You got guns on me,” the man says. The officer replies that he is “1,050% detained” and adds that, “If you do anything other than what you’re doing right now, then you’re gonna have some major consequences to deal with.”
The man asks, “For what,” prompting the officer to respond that, “It’s already been explained to you.”
The deputy asks the man if he’s going to get out of the car. The man again asks if he’s under arrest, with the deputy again responding that he’s being “detained.” He then tells the man that if he doesn’t comply, he will be arrested and his car will be towed.
The deputy then tells him that he already resisted the other deputy “by ripping your arm away.”
“Your partner came and opened my damn door by himself,” the man says. He then begins stepping out of the car – his hands still up. As he begins exiting, the deputy puts the gun down while the other deputy, still standing by the car door, grabs the man’s arms and places them behind his back.
The deputies handcuff the man while two other deputies arrive at the scene. The man tells them that they don’t have consent to search his vehicle, to which the officer who threatened to shoot him says that they don’t need consent.
As they start putting the man in the back of a patrol SUV, the officer accuses him of smoking marijuana. “Unfortunately for you, you shouldn’t smoke so much weed in your car and then we wouldn’t have to search you,” the deputy says.
The man replies, “I didn’t smoke no weed in my f——- car.” The deputy asks if the man has anger issues before two other deputies shut the door and the video ends.
The interaction, which lasted about three minutes between when the deputy first said, “Hi” and the man was placed in the patrol SUV, resulted in the man filing a complaint. The LASD called the deputy’s language “unprofessional.” The investigation into the deputy and his partner is ongoing, the department said.
Source: NBC Los Angeles