A man who alleges he was manhandled by LAPD officers and handcuffed for hours at the height of protests triggered by the in-custody death in Minneapolis of George Floyd is suing the city of Los Angeles, saying he was an innocent party who was not taking part in a demonstration.
“To put it simply, he ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time,” according to Steven Walpert’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, which alleges civil rights violations, assault and battery, false arrest and imprisonment and negligence. Walpert seeks unspecified damages in the suit filed Monday,
A representative for the City Attorney’s Office could not be immediately reached for comment.
After Floyd’s May 25 death while in the custody of Minneapolis police, protests were organized nationwide, including one in Los Angeles May 30 at Pan Pacific Park that was organized by Black Lives Matter, according to Walpert’s court papers, which say he did not know the demonstration was scheduled or that many people had congregated in the area.
Walpert says he was driving west on Beverly Boulevard about 3 p.m., en route home from visiting relatives, when he reached a police blockade at the Fairfax Avenue intersection. Police directed Walpert to turn south on Fairfax, but he soon encountered a large gathering of people in the street, his suit says.
As Walpert tried to drive along Fairfax, his car was surrounded by agitators who struck his vehicle with rocks and sticks and also cursed at and threatened him, according to the suit.
Walpert says he was able to turn west on Third Street, where he thought he would receive assistance from LAPD officers. But to his “shock and dismay,” he was “violently pulled out of his car by LAPD officers,” assaulted and arrested, the suit alleges.
He was handcuffed in a temporary holding area with about 30 other people, then placed in s Sheriff’s Department van, where he was left in handcuffs for another three hours, according to his court papers.
Walpert was later taken to a processing center in Van Nuys and released about 10 p.m., having been handcuffed for a total of about seven hours, the suit says. He had numbness in his hands and was denied multiple requests to get the handcuffs loosened, the suit states.
Walpert’s requests to use the restroom were also disallowed and he was instead told to urinate on himself, according to his court papers, which also allege that he was not given food or water while detained.
Walpert was held under such conditions even though California had a zero-bail release policy during the coronavirus pandemic for any misdemeanor where the bail would be less than $50,000, the suit states.
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