A 20-year-old college student who says he was beaten by Los Angeles police officers Saturday says he was prevented from seeing his father for hours after the incident, and was left in a holding cell “bleeding, throwing up, and going in and out of consciousness.”
Ronald Weekley, Jr., a sophomore at Xavier University in New Orleans, told theGrio he was riding his skateboard near his home this weekend, when he passed a patrol car as he crossed the street.
“I was on my skateboard and as I stopped at the stop light they were pulling up to the stop sign,” Weekley said. “I crossed the street and got back on the sidewalk. At no time did they try to stop me. I finished the last 30 feet on my skateboard because my house is right there. I put my hand on the gate and then I hear footsteps and keys, and I turn around and I was being tackled right away.”
Weekley said the officers never told him why they were stopping him. In fact, he says they didn’t say anything to him before one of the officers grabbed him, and began forcing him to the ground.
“They grabbed my hair, they grabbed my shoulders and they grabbed my back,” Weekley said. “They didn’t tell me anything. They didn’t tell me why I was being arrested. The first thing they tried to do was pound my face into the sidewalk.”
WATCH: Raw cell phone video of the LAPD incident (warning: violence)
Weekley denies he resisted arrest, but said he had a reflexive reaction to having his face forced toward the ground. “As an athlete, you definitely learn how to use your body,” he said. “So the first thing I did was try not to let my face hit the ground. They managed to throw me onto the grass. I was telling them I wasn’t resisting arrest. They started tying my hands and feet behind my back.”
The 20-year-old said one of the officers put a knee on his back, “he grabbed my hair with his left hand and hit me in the face with his right. He stuck me twice. Immediately after that I started screaming and yelling for help. I thought I was going to die. People started coming over and recording and at that point [the officers] started yelling, ‘stop resisting arrest!’ But my hands were already tied. At that point the officer who had his knee in my back grabbed my hair again and socked me twice, and at that point I lost consciousness.”
Weekley insists the officers said nothing two him until people began spilling out into the street, at least one of whom captured part of the incident on a cellphone camera. A woman can be heard on the video, which has since been uploaded to Youtube, and was being distributed by the family at a press conference at a Los Angeles church Tuesday, saying, “I know this ain’t Orange County, but, you know, we’re just trying to make sure you don’t kill him!”
At least four officers can be seen on top of Weekley in the video.
“Once they started striking me,” Weekley continued, “they said, ‘you’re a dumbass for not stopping at the stop sign.’”
Weekley’s father, Ronald Sr., told theGrio he arrived at the scene after his son was in custody, and that he was prevented from talking to him by the officers.
“At some point, they got Ronald up and dragged him to a wall,” Weekley Sr., said, adding that his son “seemed to be semi conscious. They were kind of holding him up a little bit. I could see this from my vantage point.” After that, Weekley said the officers “kind of dragged him to the [patrol] car. They were trying to prevent me from making any progress closer to my son. My son was screaming, ‘dad, dad, dad! Let me see my dad!’” Weekley Sr. said the officers told him they would check with the sergeant in charge, a Sgt. Jeter, but that he sas Jeter talk to the officers, lean over the patrol car where Weakley Jr. was seated in the back, and then, the car pulled off.
When he asked why he wasn’t permitted to speak to his son, Weakley Sr. said the officers told him, “sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t” allow such interaction, “but this time. we didn’t think it was appropriate.” He added that Sgt. Jeter told him he was not assigned to patrol that neighborhood, but that he was “in charge of a group of about 20 officers from the violent crimes special division” of the LAPD. He said he went to “three different jails” trying to find his son, but officers would not tell him where Ronald Jr. was.