A chest surgeon testified Thursday that he has not been able to practice his craft since 2014, when LAPD officers allegedly threw him to the ground outside his Brentwood home after responding to a 911 call from his ex-girlfriend stating that he was contemplating suicide.
Dr. Michael Richman said his left wrist, which he used to brace his fall, has never fully recovered.
“I never had any problem with my wrist before the incident,” said the 53-year-old plaintiff, who wore a brace on the wrist in court.
The physician also said the officers handcuffed him in a rough manner that caused him arm pain.
Richman’s attorneys maintain their client’s wrist was permanently injured after officers threw him to the ground early in the morning of Aug. 26, 2014, and that he was not suicidal that morning. His excessive force suit is currently being tried before a Los Angeles Superior Court jury.
Deputy City Attorney Geoffrey Plowden has countered that 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.
Earlier Thursday, a deposition given by actor/comedian Bob Saget, a neighbor of Richman, was read to the jury. Saget said Richman was brought to the ground by the officers, but not in a violent manner, contradicting the accounts of several LAPD officers who previously testified that the surgeon was kept on his feet the whole time.
Saget, known for his role as Danny Tanner on the ABC sitcom “Full House” and for hosting “America’s Funniest Home Videos” from 1989-97, did not appear in court. His deposition testimony was read to jurors by plaintiff’s attorney Dale Galipo.
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 was shirtless and shoeless, 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,” he 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.
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