The mother of a Los Angeles Police Department officer who died after suffering a spinal cord injury during a training accident has filed a wrongful death claim against the city, alleging he was beaten by fellow officers in an exercise meant to “simulate a mob,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Officer Houston Ryan Tipping died May 29, three days after the training accident at the agency’s Elysian Park academy. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Tipping was working as a bike instructor in a scenario that involved grappling with another officer.
During the exercise, Tipping fell to the floor and suffered a spinal cord injury. Other officers present initiated CPR until Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics arrived, police said.
However, according to the claim filed Friday by Tipping’s mother, Shirley Huffman, the officer was “repeatedly struck in the head severely enough that he bled,” The Times reported. The claim goes on to say that Tipping required stitches and also suffered multiple breaks in his neck, which caused his death, the newspaper reported.
Wrongful death claims are often precursors to lawsuits.
Capt. Kelly Muniz, a spokeswoman for the LAPD, told The Times that the department could not comment on the claim or the nature of the training exercise. She added that the LAPD has launched its own investigation into the incident, in part to determine whether “there are any changes that need to be made.”
Tipping was laid to rest Wednesday at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills in a funeral attended by Moore, Mayor Eric Garcetti and many of his fellow officers.
The 32-year-old officer is survived by his parents, Richard and Shirley; his stepfather Bob; his siblings Kat and Tyler; and his girlfriend, Brittany.
The five-year department veteran worked out of the LAPD’s Devonshire Division.
Tipping’s father fought back tears as he paid tribute to his son at the funeral service, publicly professing “how much I love my son, how proud I am of him.”
“My son Houston was naturally kind,” he said. “He genuinely cared about people. He had the perfect character to be an LAPD officer.”
Moore called Tipping “an officer who held such promise for this city.”