LAPD arrest Black man while looking for white suspect, video shows

Antone Austin and his girlfriend Michelle Michlewicz have a lawsuit stemming from the incident where they were both arrested.

Body camera footage has been released in the May 2019 incident where two Los Angeles Police Department officers arrested a Black man although they were in pursuit of a white suspect.

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ABC 6 reported Antone Austin was taking out his garbage at his Hollywood residence when he was approached and arrested by police officers. The 42-year-old was ordered to turn around by the officers. Body camera footage has been released where the officials can be heard admitting they do not have a suspect description. Austin believes he was racially profiled and has filed a lawsuit against the LAPD.

“In your mind, you want to say to yourself, ‘It happened because I’m Black,’ and then you don’t want to be that petty. You don’t want to be that small. You don’t want to really believe that people’s thinking is really [on] that low of a scale,” Austin told ABC News. “Then when you watch the footage, and you hear the guy in the car — the girl in the 911 call told him to go to a restaurant that was three blocks away from my house.”

antone austin
Screenshot of Body Cam Footage

Austin informed the outlet he fought for the footage to be released. During the arrest, the officers were sent out to investigate an alleged incident of domestic violence from a caller who gave no description or address, only a general neighborhood. As he took out his trash, police officers spotted him and made up their mind he was the person of interest.

His 30-year-old girlfriend, Michelle Michlewicz, rushed out of the apartment in a bathrobe hearing the commotion and was publicly exposed during the arrest. According to the news outlet, even the 911 caller attempted to inform police they were wrong.

“Is this the dude?” one asked.

“Probably,” the other responded.

As the altercation continued, one officer remarked, “We got a call … OK man, I don’t know who I’m looking for yet … Turn around man! What is your problem?”

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According to KTLA 5, a federal magistrate ordered the public disclosure of the video on April 2. The Los Angeles city attorney’s office had said in a court filing it did not want the video released publicly because it would “be contrary to LAPD policy and may have a chilling effect on future LAPD investigations.” However, U.S. Magistrate Jacqueline Chooljian agreed with Austin’s attorney.

“It was racial profiling,”  said the couple’s attorney, Faisal Gill to ABC 6. No question about it and to add injury to insult they arrest my clients, put them in jail … Even the woman who called 911 tried to tell the officers that they had the wrong person.”

On Thursday, the couple spoke with Good Morning America to discuss the ordeal. The pair have moved from the neighborhood and ikn their lawsuit, seek $3 million in damages and an apology.

This is only once recent incident of alleged racist behavior to make headlines. theGrio reported the LAPD has launched an investigation after a former detective was filmed calling a Black man the N-word following a traffic incident.

The confrontation reportedly went down in Valencia, California after a fender bender, TMZ reported. The footage showed former LAPD homicide detective John Motto arguing with an unidentified motorist by the side of the road. In the clip, Motto is heard calling the other driver the N-word and telling him “Go back into your little cage until the monkey controller gets here.”

The LAPD responded to the clip, which has been widely shared online, confirming that Motto retired in May 2020 as a detective with the Operations Central Bureau Homicide, according to the report. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon called the video “disturbing” and agrees that Motto was “exhibiting racist tendencies.”

Gascon said the DA’s office is “taking immediate action” and will be reviewing 370 cases handled by Motto to determine if any were affected by racial bias.

This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Ny Magee.

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