NATIONAL NEWS

LA County sheriff’s department calls video of deputy tackling woman ‘disturbing,’ opens inquiry

Jul 5, 2023, 1:12 PM

In this image taken from police body camera provided by Los Angeles Sheriff's office on June 24, 20...

In this image taken from police body camera provided by Los Angeles Sheriff's office on June 24, 2023, a Sheriff's deputies arrested a couple in a grocery store parking lot in Lancaster, Calif. The Los Angeles County sheriff has opened an investigation into two deputies' actions after a bystander's cellphone footage showed one of them tackling a woman while she filmed her husband being handcuffed in what the scandal-ridden department described as disturbing. (Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says a bystander’s cellphone footage showing a deputy violently tackling a woman while she filmed her husband being handcuffed and pepper-spraying her in the face is “ disturbing,” and community groups on Wednesday called for the department’s new sheriff to hold his agency accountable.

The June 24 incident in the city of Lancaster follows several cases that have drawn scrutiny to the department amid allegations of excessive use of force by its deputies. It’s also testing the reform efforts of the incumbent Alex Villanueva.

Both officers were pulled off field duty, the sheriff’s department said in a statement late Monday after the bystander footage spread on social media. The agency also announced it has opened an investigation into the deputies’ actions.

“While the Department does not make statements related to ongoing investigations, Sheriff Luna has made it clear that he expects Department personnel to treat all members of the public with dignity and respect, and that personnel who do not uphold our training standards will be held accountable,” the department said in its statement.

The agency also released footage from the deputies’ body-worn cameras on Monday.

The couple, whose names were not released, reportedly matched the descriptions of robbers targeting a grocery store in Lancaster, 72 kilometers (45 miles) northeast of Los Angeles, the department said. The video shows the man sitting on a large rock outside the store and holding a cake before deputies handcuff him as his wife stands a few feet away filming the encounter.

One deputy is seen tackling the woman to the ground. “Get on the ground!” he can be heard shouting as he pins her down with his knee on her neck and shoulder. “Stop or you’ll get punched in the face!”

The woman is heard yelling “I can’t breathe!” as the deputy is seen pepper-spraying her in the face. She screams, “I didn’t do nothin’!” and her husband repeatedly tells the other deputy that she has cancer.

The sheriff’s department did not release the deputies’ names or other details, such as whether the couple was cited. The department first referred a reporter to submit questions to an online media portal and then declined to provide additional information.

A protest was planned in Lancaster Wednesday evening by community groups to demand that the deputies be held accountable and be dismissed.

Villanueva’s tenure was tainted by accusations that so-called deputy gangs proliferated under his watch. The groups are accused of a variety of misconduct dating back decades, from controlling sheriff’s stations and the jails, to harassing other deputies and the communities they police, to harming or fatally shooting civilians as part of gang rituals.

Villanueva resisted efforts from the county’s inspector general and a civilian oversight commission to address the cliques. The former sheriff downplayed their role in the department and refused to answer the commission’s subpoenas to testify about the gangs under oath.

The department was years behind other police agencies in outfitting its deputies with body-worn cameras, bringing them on board in 2020. The neighboring Los Angeles Police Department, in contrast, first gave the technology to its officers in 2016.

National News

Jungle Cruise Skipper Gabriel Ramos keeps up the Jungle Cruise-style humor as he joins other Disney...

Associated Press

Disneyland workers authorize potential strike ahead of continued contract negotiations

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of workers at Disney’s theme park and resort properties in California voted late Friday to authorize a potential strike, as contract negotiations drag on. The strike authorization was approved by an overwhelming margin, nearly 99% of the members who cast votes according to a union statement. The election was held […]

8 minutes ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is covered by U.S. Secret Se...

Associated Press

This is how Secret Service protection has changed for presidents over the years

WASHINGTON (AP) — During Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, anyone could come to the White House and see him. Come they did: mothers looking to have their sons released from military service, wives urging that their husbands be freed from prison after resisting the draft, others who simply wanted to meet the president. “Some only wanted comfort […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Deborah Moody, an administrative clerk at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Anchora...

Associated Press

Alaska election officials to recalculate signatures for ranked vote repeal measure after court order

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A state court judge on Friday disqualified numerous booklets used to gather signatures for an initiative that aims to repeal Alaska’s ranked choice voting system and gave elections officials a deadline to determine if the measure still had sufficient signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The decision by Superior Court […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

UN approves more transparent procedures for people and entities to get off its sanctions lists

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved more transparent procedures Friday for the hundreds of individuals, companies and other entities who are subject to U.N. sanctions and want to get off the blacklists. The resolution, co-sponsored by Malta and the United States, also authorizes the establishment of a new informal working […]

8 hours ago

FILE - Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee meeting, Dec. 13...

Associated Press

Longtime US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who had pancreatic cancer, has died

Longtime U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who helped lead federal efforts to protect women from domestic violence and recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday, has died. She was 74. Lillie Conley, her chief of staff, confirmed Friday night that Jackson Lee, who had pancreatic cancer, had died. The Democrat had represented her Houston-based […]

8 hours ago

Stools line the bar at Elwood's Liquor and Tap on Thursday, July 18, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wis. This w...

Associated Press

Outside the RNC, small Milwaukee businesses and their regulars tried to salvage a sluggish week

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jay Nelson was standing outside the convenience store he manages in downtown Milwaukee when one of his regular customers walked by on her daily stroll around the neighborhood. “I’ve been telling people to come and buy even just a bottle of wine,” she said, stretching out her arms. “I hope it helps.” […]

8 hours ago

LA County sheriff’s department calls video of deputy tackling woman ‘disturbing,’ opens inquiry