L.A. probes deputies after video shows woman hitting the ground

Two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies are off active duty as the agency investigates the June 24 incident, which took place at a grocery store in Lancaster.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has launched an investigation into an alleged use of force incident involving two of its officers and two grocery store customers.

According to CNN, a pair of unidentified deputies have been removed from active duty as their agency investigates the June 24 episode at a WinCo grocery store in Lancaster. It happened as deputies attempted to apprehend a couple who matched the descriptions of robbery suspects provided by store security in 911 calls.

In a news release, the sheriff’s department said the “disturbing” encounter developed into a use of force incident as officers attempted to detain the individuals described by staff. A community member videotaped it with a mobile phone camera.

California police use of force
Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are off field duty following an incident last month in which a woman was thrown to the ground. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube.com/KTLA 5)

At a news conference on Wednesday, L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna said he had released the authorities’ video to the public because he is committed to full transparency.

“I have seen the video – both the video collected by the community member and our body-worn camera footage that we put out Monday night,” said Luna. “And it’s disturbing. There’s no ifs and buts about it.”

Released body camera footage of the interaction shows the deputy arriving on the scene and repeatedly ordering a man to put his hands on the back of a police cruiser. The man allegedly resists an officer’s orders to sit down.

It’s unclear to whom the man is talking when he claims, “They approached us first, man,” and says that he has done nothing wrong.

“Sit down, dude,” the deputy orders after radioing dispatch that he is on the scene and that the man is uncooperative.

Deputies approach the man in the footage and inform him they will pat him down, to which he responds he doesn’t have anything.

The two deputies handcuff him as he protests, “I’m not even being resistant.” According to the footage, deputies remain silent when he asks why they’re arresting him.

Video captures the man complaining that his arm is “f**ked up” as officers handcuff him.

In one video shot, a deputy shoves the man to the ground after handcuffing him. He tells the deputy that he’s “not going to fight” him and that his wife has cancer.

Separate from the spectator who investigators say recorded the man’s arrest, the woman who store employees said had been inside the store was also capturing the event on camera.

The woman is heard saying, “You can’t touch me,” in a deputy’s body camera footage as the deputy approaches her, reaches for her phone and orders her to stop recording.

Video captures the deputy throwing the woman to the ground after a scuffle. The deputy says, “Get down on the ground” several times, with his hand on the back of the woman’s neck.

The woman threatens to sue the deputy after he screams, “Stop or you’re going to get punched in the face.”

The unnamed woman claims she is having trouble breathing and tells the officer to “stop manhandling” her. The deputy responds by spraying something into the woman’s face.

She continues to call for “a commander” and says she isn’t doing anything as the deputy places his knee on her back and tries to arrest her. While trying to get the handcuffs on her, the deputy warns she will be “sprayed again.”

The man in question was arrested and charged with interfering with a business, petty theft or attempted petty theft and resisting or delaying an officer. After attacking loss prevention staff inside the market, the woman was charged with battery and assaulting an officer.

Deputy Miesha McClendon reported that both had been released.

The sheriff’s department said it would examine all recorded footage to determine whether the force used was reasonable, necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the level of conduct reported.

Protesters gathered at the WinCo store Wednesday night to voice their opposition to the violent behavior they had seen.

“I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I was just so upset,” said Lisa Garrett, who recorded cell phone footage of the detention, CNN reported. “You weren’t there. I was there. It was really bad.”

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