LOS ANGELES, California – Recently released video from a Los Angeles police officer’s body camera shows two officers dealing with and arresting a black man outside his Hollywood home while responding to reports of a domestic violence incident. in which the suspect was a neighbor’s white boyfriend.
A federal magistrate ordered the video‘s public release on Friday as part of a lawsuit for racial discrimination and civil rights violations brought by music producer Antone Austin, known as Tone Stackz, who was arrested in May 2019 despite not being a suspect. domestic violence. call. Austin and his girlfriend Michelle Michlewicz were arrested for resisting arrest.
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office had said in a court docket that it did not want the Los Angeles Police Department video released because “it would be contrary to LAPD policy and could have a chilling effect on future investigations. of the LAPD “. However, US Magistrate Jacqueline Chooljian agreed with a lawyer for the producer and his girlfriend that the 11-minute video should be released.
The video shows the two being physically detained by officers as they proclaim Austin’s innocence. But it begins with an unusual admission that officers weren’t sure Austin was the man named in the domestic violence call.
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Remember the Black man who was bringing in his trash can when the #LAPD kidnapped him after a white woman called 911 on her white boyfriend?
– Jasmyne Cannick (@Jasmyne)
April 3, 2021
When their squad car makes a U-turn after passing Austin, one officer asks the other, “This guy?”
“Probably,” the associate says in the May 24, 2019 recording. Agents were responding to a 911 call made by Austin’s neighbor about her ex-boyfriend, who was white; a description of the suspect is not provided on the call.
Officers see Austin taking out the trash in front of his apartment on Fountain Avenue; smiles at officers when they approach. The officers tell him to turn around. He asks why, and the officer replies, “Because I told you so.” Austin informs the officer who lives there and the officer says, “Okay man, I don’t know who I’m looking for.”
The officer asks Austin, “What is your problem?” As Austin tries to turn towards them, they become physical, dealing with him and placing his arms behind his back. Austin starts yelling “Help” repeatedly.
“You’re looking for the people upstairs,” Austin protests as officers try to handcuff him behind his back.
The video then shows Michlewicz trying to intervene. You can hear him say, “What’s going on?” as she tries to grab Austin as the officers pull him away from her. At one point, her robe comes off and she is briefly naked on the street. Finally it is pushed to the ground.
Handcuffed, Austin continues to try to explain to the officers that they have the wrong person. “My rights have been violated,” he says. His girlfriend says, “They just knocked me to the ground.”
They were both arrested.
“It is a racial profile. They didn’t have a description of the suspect, a completely blank slate, “said attorney Faisal Gill, who represents them both in the civil rights lawsuit. “They literally saw the first black man and arrested him.”
Los Angeles police declined Tuesday to comment on the video’s release, citing ongoing litigation. The Los Angeles city attorney’s office, in court documents, has tried to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Austin and Michlewicz are guilty of the force used against them and that the police should be immune from liability.
Gill said that when the woman who called 911 told officers that Austin was not the man she called for, they continued with the arrest. According to Los Angeles police records, the officers were white and Asian-American.
Austin said that when officers approached him, he thought they were “there for someone else. … I thought they were going to be cool. “When they started yelling and laying their hands on him, he was confused.” I’m telling you, wait a minute, I live here, “he said. He remembers being slammed into a wall head-on. He and his girlfriend were left bloodied and abused without apology, he said.
“I just want justice to be served,” Austin said.