Body Camera Footage Shows LAPD Arresting a Black Man Even Though Their Suspect Was White

Illustration for article titled Body Camera Footage Shows LAPD Arresting a Black Man Even Though Their Suspect Was White
Screenshot: Los Angeles Police Department

Cops seem to be offended at the idea that they harass Black people with no rhyme or reason. Perhaps that notion would be dispelled if they weren’t doing things like arresting a Black man even though the suspect they were looking for was white.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, a federal magistrate ordered the release of body camera footage that shows an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department arresting Antone Austin while he was taking out the trash. The footage was released as part of a lawsuit filed by Austin alleging that the LAPD engaged in racial profiling and violated his civil rights during his arrest.

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office argued against the video being released in a court filing as they believed it would “be contrary to LAPD policy and may have a chilling effect on future LAPD investigations. U.S. Magistrate Jacqueline Chooljian basically said “Hmmm, nah, not buying it,” and ordered the body camera footage to be released.

Austin and his girlfriend Michelle Michlewicz were arrested for resisting arrest in May 2019 when LAPD officers were responding to a call about a domestic violence incident.

From the Los Angeles TImes:

The video footage shows the two being physically detained by officers as they proclaim Austin’s innocence. But it begins with an unusual admission that the officers weren’t sure Austin was the man cited in the domestic violence call.

As their patrol car makes a U-turn after passing Austin, one officer asks the other, “This dude?”

“Probably,” says the partner on the May 24, 2019, recording. The officers were responding to a 911 call made by Austin’s neighbor about her ex-boyfriend, who was white; no description of the suspect is given in the call.

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The officers are seen approaching Austin as he’s taking out the trash and asking him to turn around. Austin asks why, to which the officer responds “Because I told you to.” The officers proceed to pin Austin against a wall and handcuff him. He begins to yell for help and tells the officers that the person they’re looking for is upstairs.

Michlewicz then comes out to tell the officers that they have the wrong person and she attempts to hold on to Austin. The officers then do the totally reasonable thing of pushing her to the ground and arresting her.

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“It is racial profiling. They had no description of the suspect — a completely blank slate,” attorney Faisal Gill, who represents Austin and Michlewicz, told the Los Angeles Times. “They literally saw the first Black man, and they arrested him.” Gill added that the officers continued with the arrest even after the woman who made the call told the officers they had the wrong guy.

Being in a relationship with a cop sounds like it would be the worst. Even when you have proof that they’re wrong, they’ll just double down and be like “Well actually, no.”

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Court documents have shown that the L.A. City Attorney’s Office wants the lawsuit dismissed as they believe the couple brought the arrest on themselves, and it was their actions that led to their arrest. Yup, because nothing screams “arrestable offense” like being a Black man taking out the trash.

Austin told the Los Angeles Times that he thought the officers were going to be cool as he figured they were there for someone else. He remembers he and his girlfriend being left bloodied and battered after the incident, and they didn’t even receive an apology.

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“I just want justice served,” Austin said.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.

DISCUSSION

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BigDadaCoolBreeze

So much for “Fits the Description