An actor/comedian and neighbor of a chest surgeon who alleges his career was impaired when Los Angeles police officers took him into custody in 2014 said in a deposition read to a jury Thursday that the doctor was taken to the ground before he was handcuffed.
The account by Bob Saget contradicted the accounts of several LAPD officers who previously testified during the trial of Dr. Michael Richman’s Los Angeles Superior Court excessive force suit that the surgeon was kept on his feet the whole time.
The 62-year-old Saget, whose acting roles include that of Danny Tanner on the ABC sitcom “Full House,” did not appear in court Thursday. His deposition testimony was read to jurors by plaintiff’s attorney Dale Galipo.
Richman’s attorneys maintain their client’s left wrist was permanently injured after officers threw him to the ground outside his Brentwood home on Aug. 26, 2014. Officers went to the home on a 911 call from an estranged girlfriend of Richman’s that he was considering suicide.
But Deputy City Attorney Geoffrey Plowden said officers patiently waited nearly two hours before the doctor complied with demands to come out of the residence. He said Richman was never taken to the ground and that his only complaint to officers was that his handcuffs were too tight, prompting them to replace the metal cuffs with a plastic version.
Saget said he was in a bedroom of his home across the street from Richman’s when he heard sirens and saw lights and four to six patrol cars. He said he did not know Richman.
An officer said over a microphone, “Come out with your hands up,” according to Saget. “I was a little fearful because I didn’t know what was going on.”
Saget said Richman came out of the house a first time, but then went back inside.
“My view is that when he came out the first time he was scared or he forgot something,” Saget said.
Saget said that when the doctor came out a second time he saw Richman, who had no shirt or shoes on, taken to the ground on his knees by officers just before the doctor was handcuffed.
Saget described the takedown as a “slow-motion process” that “seemed like a non-violent exercise. It didn’t appear pressure was applied to put him on the ground.”
Richman was then put in the back of a patrol car and driven away, Saget said.
“It looked like it was being done the way I’d like to be arrested,” Saget said.
Richman was taken into custody under a section of the Welfare and Institutions Code that allows a person to be held in a psychiatric hospital against their will for up to 72 hours.
Saget also is known for hosting “America’s Funniest Home Videos” in 1989-97.