Los Angeles Police Accused of Racial Profiling
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Dozens of Los Angeles Police officers in riot gear used excessive force to shut down a party hosted by mostly black University of California students while allowing a mostly white party across the street to continue, six students claim in court.
Rayven Vinson et al. sued Los Angeles, the University of Southern California and 12 named LAPD officers in a federal complaint of excessive force, false arrest, malicious prosecution and other claims.
The students say that during the early hours of May 4, 2013 police raided their party at 1222 W. 23rd St., while allowing a party to continue in the house across the street.
Matthew Walsh, who attended the party of mostly white students, told USC Annenberg TV News that the LAPD's treatment of minorities across the street couldn't have been more stark.
"Our party didn't actually get broken up by LAPD, a lot of people just left on their own volition," Walsh said. "The attitude of the police officers toward the two parties was completely different. It was absurd, I couldn't believe it."
Police reportedly asked a DJ at the plaintiffs' party to turn the music off. The DJ allegedly responded with shout-outs from a microphone. One of the responding officers, defendant Carlyle, then called for backup, according to a report from USC Annenberg.
Approximately 79 riot police with batons formed a skirmish line on nearby Hoover Street, USC Annenberg reported, then used excessive force to arrest the six students.
"People were traumatized and scared," partygoer and Black Student Assembly Director Lamar Gary told USC. "They didn't know what to do - people were helpless."
The students' lawsuit claims that the "mostly minority student party properly registered their party with the University of Southern California's Department of Public Safety, the University's law enforcement arm. The hosts of the mostly minority student party also properly checked student ID's at the door, a requirement for such parties. The mostly Caucasian party did neither of these things."
According to the complaint, the USC's Department of Public Safety also showed up to break up the party.
In contrast, officers went to the mostly white party opposite and warned the residents to keep the noise down and "stay safe," the complaint states.
According to the complaint, after one student was handcuffed, plaintiff Christian Sutton and other students began to take video of the officers. Sutton claims he was tackled to the ground for taking the video and arrested. The other plaintiffs say officers also arrested them on trumped up charges of "failure to disperse."
Named as defendants are LAPD officers Carlyle, Rose, Moran, Rockett, Peaker, Wolfchief, Ayala, Cordoba, Barrientos, and Marx, and Sgts. Cordoba and Washington.
The students seek compensatory and exemplary damages and costs for civil rights violations, assault and battery, fraudulent misrepresentation, constitutional violations, and other charges.
They are represented by Raymond Boucher of Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti of Los Angeles.