Homeless Man Claims LAPD Won’t Quit

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – The fourth time they assaulted him, Los Angeles police punched, Tasered and hog-tied a mentally disabled, homeless black man as he tried to “relax” at Venice Beach, the man claims in court.
     Samuel Calhoun Arrington claims eight LAPD officers attacked him without cause on the afternoon of Aug. 7, 2014, as he sat in a chair under an umbrella at the Venice Beach Boardwalk. He sued the city and the officers on May 19 in Federal Court.
     A police report states the officers were citing Arrington for violating city ordinances, including using an umbrella “that was not sitting upright and was beyond regulation length, ‘vending outside a designated area,’ having ‘items placed on [a] city bench,’ having ‘property outside a designated space,’ ‘tampering with city property’ and ‘loudly voicing his religious beliefs,'” according to the complaint.
     Arrington, 52, says he refused to sign the citation, and that a witness described what she saw as several officers took “strategic” positions around him: “They know he’s not going to sign that because he didn’t do anything,” she is heard stating on a video taken with her cell phone. “But that’s what they are hoping for so they can take him,” the complaint states.
     Arrington cried out, “Glory of God. Magnify your glory, Jehovah God,” as more officers surrounded him, according to the lawsuit.
     The police report claims he “‘lunged at one of the officers and attempted to grab his Sam Browne [belt],'” but “(v)ideo recordings of the incident do not show Mr. Arrington lunging towards LAPD officers at any point,” according to the complaint.
     But the report was contradicted by the witness’ video, which showed that, “Mr. Arrington was unarmed and reclining in a chair at the time, was presenting no threat to himself or anyone else, and breaking no laws,” the complaint states. “At no point … did Mr. Arrington lunge at one of the officers or attempt to grab a gun.”
     Nonetheless, officers punched him twice and Tasered him in the head repeatedly, assaulting him with “batons, knees, arms and the Taser gun,” the complaint states. It adds: “At no point does Mr. Arrington resist.”
     Fourteen officers eventually joined in the ruckus, including a supervising officer who took video, Arrington claims.
     But police say the video does not exist, according to the complaint, which enumerates discrepancies in the police report.
     “There were several major discrepancies between the LAPD version of events in the police reports, signed under penalty of perjury, and what transpired in the video recordings obtained of the Aug. 7, 2014 incident, which raise concerns of whether defendants intentionally fabricated and/or withheld crucial evidence that may have resulted in the dismissal of any criminal charges,” the complaint states.
     The melee could have been prevented if not for defendant Officer Jayson Siller, who confronted Arrington after recognizing him from a previous incident, according to the complaint.
     Arrington claims law enforcement officers assaulted him before: in June 2011, in January 2014 and July 2014.
     He claims the assaults put him in the hospital with multiple head lacerations, muscle trauma, a puncture wound to his stomach, heart problems, blurred vision and injuries to his neck, back, shoulders and wrists, and persistent emotional trauma.
     Arrington claims photos of the injuries have disappeared.
     Officers have charged him in the past with resisting arrest, battery, and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer. He served 18 months in jail after the June 2011 fray.
     Arrington claims that the LAPD has a pattern and practice of using the criminal justice system “to remove homeless people from public places by criminalizing their presence there, setting the stage for the kind of treatment inflicted on Mr. Arrington and others.”
     The complaint cites a report from the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty: “No Safe Place: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities.”
     Arrington says he suffers from repeated seizures, episodes of fainting, syncope, vertigo, tinnitus and severe headaches as a result of the beatings.
     Attempts to reach Arrington’s attorneys Nazareth Haysbert and James Moultrie were unsuccessful.
     A Los Angeles Police Department media representative told Courthouse News Service the department does not comment on pending litigation.
     Arrington sued Los Angeles and LAPD Officers Daniel Ramirez, Jayson Siller, Leo Perez, Robert Jaurez, Steve Ruiz, Jin Kwon, Anaid Bedevyan, Kevin Shaw, Theresa Skinner, Omar Ortiz, Hooman Nafissi, Inez Miller, Arthur Paine and Gregory Roberts.
     He seeks punitive damages for excessive force, failure to intervene, failure to train, supervise and discipline, failure to accommodate, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, and negligence.

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