A rapper has filed a claim against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after one of its deputies threatened to shoot him in the chest during an interaction that was captured on bodycam video.
The claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, alleges Darral Scott (known professionally as Feezy Lebron) had his rights violated and was subjected to illegal uses of force, as well as illegal detention and an illegal search of his vehicle. Scott and his lawyers allege the incident was racially motivated.
Video of the interaction in Gardena showed an LASD deputy – whom the claim says has been involved in a prior “officer-involved shooting” – pointing a gun at Scott and threatening to shoot him in the chest. The interaction resulted in Scott being issued a ticket for a missing front license plate.
“It was just a scary situation. I was scared to death. I didn’t think I was going to make it home and see my kids,” Scott said during a Wednesday morning press conference as he sat alongside his 9-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter.
Scott said that when the incident happened, he was merely sitting in his car and streaming on Instagram while waiting for a friend. Two deputies pulled up, blocked his path with their vehicle and approached Scott’s car, he said.
That’s when, according to Scott, he rolled down his window. One of the deputies, he said, asked him what he was doing while simultaneously reaching into his car, opening the door, grabbing his arm and telling him to get out.
The LASD released video from the other deputy’s perspective. It showed him approaching the car as the first deputy stood next to Scott’s car and reached in, apparently grabbing at his arm. About five seconds after asking Scott what he was doing, the second deputy pulled out his pepper spray and pointed it at him.
Scott asked why he would get sprayed, to which the deputy responded by repeating him that he needed to get out of the car or he would be sprayed. Scott asked why he needed to exit the vehicle, at which point the officer put away the pepper spray, took out his handgun and pointed it at him. Scott immediately put his hands up.
The time between the deputy asking Scott what he was doing and pulling out the gun was 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 deputy said. “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.”
After the deputy pulled out his gun, both he and Scott continued talking for about a minute-and-a-half, with the officer telling him to get out and Scott asking if he was under arrest and if he was going to get shot.
“The whole situation just made me feel helpless. I felt like I had no control over the situation. I felt less of a person. I was mad, sad, angry, every emotion all at once,” Scott said, noting that he was scared that if even one of his arms dropped, the deputy would have used it as a pretext to shoot.
Scott eventually exited the vehicle and was immediately handcuffed. He told the deputies that they didn’t have consent to search his vehicle, but the deputy who threatened to shoot him told him they didn’t need consent.
That resulted in Scott being unlawfully detained in the back of a patrol SUV for some 20 to 40 minutes, according to the claim. The deputies then illegally searched Scott’s car but found nothing illegal, eventually letting him go with just a ticket for the missing front license plate, lawyer Dan Stormer said.
Scott said that when he went to an LASD station to file a complaint, deputies tried to intimidate him and made him wait hours before finally submitting the complaint.
Since then, Scott said he has been unable to sleep, feels paranoid, fears driving and is in the process of moving residences because he feels unsafe. He also said he had to have a tough conversation with his son, warning the boy that he will have to grow up in a world where people might try to hurt or kill him because of the color of his skin.
Stormer said the claim against the deputies will be followed by a formal lawsuit. Morgan Ricketts, another of Scott’s lawyers, called on the Department of Justice to file federal criminal charges against the deputy who threatened to shoot her client. She said the deputy is a danger to the community and must be fired.
The ordeal has exacerbated tensions between law enforcement and people of color, especially Black people, Scott’s lawyers said.
“Roaming the streets looking for a random Black man to threaten at gunpoint isn’t law enforcement. It’s not proactive policing. It’s thuggery, it’s criminal and it has to stop,” Ricketts said.
For its part, the LASD said previously that the language used by the deputy who threatened to shoot Scott was “unprofessional. The department said it was investigating the case. Asked Wednesday about the status of the investigation and whether any of the deputies involved in the incident had been disciplined, the LASD did not return a request for comment.
Source: NBC Los Angeles