LA Private Eye Says Cops Made a Bad Bust

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Los Angeles County deputies detained private investigator without cause while one of them brandished his service revolver and pointed it, cocked, at the man’s head, a federal lawsuit claims.
     Plaintiff Ken Sheppard, a black man and licensed private investigator, says he was parked outside an apartment building in Montrose, Calif. the morning of March 3, 2014, when he approached by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy.
     At the time, Sheppard says, his Chevy Tahoe was legally parked, and it’s windows, mirrors and other attributes were all in compliance with the law.
     According to the complaint, the officer, identified only as “Deputy Plunkett,” exited his cruiser with gun drawn, and immediately began questioning Sheppard. Based on their exchanges, the private investigator says, it quickly became clear the deputy had little to no reason to stop and confront him, let alone to do so with his gun drawn.
     Sheppard says he asked the deputy to holster his gun, and repeated that request after observed the deputy was “visibly shaking.” These requests were ignored, the complaint says, and when Sheppard raised his hand to remove his Bluetooth earpiece, “Deputy Plunkett immediately pointed his weapon, a Beretta 92F, at the side of Mr. Sheppard’s heard, toward his left temple.”
     “Deputy Plunkett aggressively shouted, ‘do not fucking be reaching.’ In response, Mr. Sheppard advised Deputy Plunkett that he had simply removed his earpiece,” the complaint says.
     Moments later, a second deputy, identified as “Deputy Ramirez,” arrived at the scene, with also with her gun drawn, Sheppard says. Her arrival was followed by that of a “Sergeant Hollis,” who attempted to exert control over the scene.
     Despite this, “Deputy Ramirez continue to observe, keying her radio microphone. Deputy Plunkett continued to shake, with his Beretta still pointed at Mr. Sheppard’s left temple,” the complaint says. “No one immediately advised Deputy Plunkett to lower his weapon, or to stand down.
     “Mr. Sheppard protested to Deputy Ramirez and Sergeant Hollis that Deputy Plunkett continued to have his gun pointed at Mr. Sheppard’s head, despite the fact that Deputy Plunkett had neither identified nor articulated a crime in commission,” it continued.
     After still more officers arrived at the scene, Hollis told Plunkett to stand down and explain what happened, but Plunkett refused to answer, Sheppard says.
     When Hollis was finally able to get Plunkett to comply, the Sergeant asked Sheppard to step from his vehicle, at which time he was grabbed by his left arm by Deputy Ramirez, and commanded to turn around, the complaint says.
     Sheppard says he was then patted down by Ramirez – contrary to LA Sheriff Departmental policies, the private investigator says — that she offensively touched his private areas in the process.
     At this point , Sheppard says, several deputies then tried to inspect and even enter his vehicle, while he was placed in the passenger seat of a police car.
     Sheppard says he was then approached by another deputy, a “Deputy Hanson,” who asked him what he was doing in the area, and who allegedly observed that Sheppard “did not belong in the area.”
     The lawsuit says the deputies on scene attempted to justify Plunkett’s actions after they happened and Hanson and Ramirez drafted a citation that was ultimately signed by Plunkett.
     Sheppard says neither Hanson nor Ramirez were willing to personally sign the citation after having a long conversation about it, and that during this exchange, he clearly heard Hanson say, “Please, just let me Taser him!”
     Sheppard was eventually cited for violating several sections of the state vehicle code. The charges were dismissed on Aug. 26, 2014, and Sheppard says he was completely exonerated from the false allegations.
     He seeks general, special, exemplary and punitive damages on claims of violations of his constitutional rights, assault, battery, negligence, false imprisonment, negligent training, hiring and retention, and infliction of emotional distress.
     He is represented by Franklin Ferguson Jr. of Los Angeles.
     Representatives of the deputies could not immediately be reached for comment.

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