Black ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ crew member alleges racial profiling in $20 million suit against LAPD

Ernest Simon Jr. alleges he was pulled over for his race after a company-rented van was incorrectly linked to a stolen vehicle

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A Black crew member of the popular television show Grey’s Anatomy has filed a $20 million suit against the city of Los Angeles and police officers over a traffic stop that he claims was replete with racism and excessive force, according to media reports.

Ernest Simon Jr. claims in a lawsuit that LAPD officers initiated a March 2021 traffic stop due to his race and incorrectly linked the plates on the Ford van, rented by the Disney company, to a stolen BMW sedan, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

Grey’s Anatomy is produced by ABC, which is owned by Disney.

LAPD Los Angeles police
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

In the lawsuit filed in California federal court, Simon said officers initiated the traffic stop at a parking lot the show was using for its base camp with guns drawn. He was then forced to lay on the asphalt with guns pointed at him for 20 minutes, according to the suit, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Black co-workers tried to intervene by telling officers Simon was a member of the crew. The lawsuit states that only after a white co-worker intervened did the police let Simon up, the report said.

A controversial automated license plate reader flagged the plates on the van he was driving, according to the Reporter.

The Times, in a previous investigation, found the LAPD disproportionately stopped Black and Latinos, which was corroborated by the LAPD’s inspector general.

The lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles, LAPD Chief of Police Michel Moore and two unnamed officers claims excessive force, racial profiling, and unreasonable search and seizure. It also alleges Los Angeles has failed to properly train its officers.

ABC Signature, which produces Grey’s Anatomy, is reportedly backing Simon in his suit.

“We filed a formal request than with the LAPD for an immediate investigation into this matter and for the appropriate action to be taken promptly,” the company said in a statement, as reported by the Reporter. “We were disappointed to learn that no action was taken and support Mr. Simon in his complaint.”

The creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes, said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter that she stands with Simon.

 “What happened to Mr. Simon was beyond unacceptable. It was another example of a broken system that puts valuable lives in danger and damages spirits,” she said. “Shondaland stands with Mr. Simon and his family in this complaint.”

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