Superior Court Judge Claims UCLA Police Officers Used Excessive Force
WESTWOOD (CBS/AP) — A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has filed a complaint against UCLA police saying he was roughed up by two officers over the weekend.
David S. Cunningham III, a former Los Angeles Police Commission president, said he was pulled over for a seat belt violation Saturday morning while leaving a Westwood gym. Cunningham, who is black, alleges the officers handcuffed him and threw him in the back of a squad car.
“An [officer] starts yelling at the top of his lungs, a crowd gathers, he demands that a watch commander come to the scene,” said Carl Douglas, Cunningham’s attorney. “A sergeant, he looks at what’s going on, he’s African-American, the judge is released immediately. No questions asked. I’m very, very mindful of when I throw out an allegation of racial profiling. Here, it fits.”
Douglas said his client suffered a severe scratch on his arm and nerve damage because of the way the handcuffs were slapped on him.
“Any person who is stopped for such an infraction does not deserve to be handled in this way,” Douglas said.
Asked if Cunningham told the officers he was a judge, Douglas said, “Judges are not supposed to play the judge card, if you will. They’re not supposed to just announce they are a judge because they are not supposed to get preferential treatment.”
Douglas, however, said Cunningham yelled out that he was a judge when he thought things got out of control, but the officers did not ease off.
In a statement released Monday, UCLA police said, in part, “During the course of the traffic stop, police officers instructed the driver to stay inside the vehicle and returned to their patrol car to run a routine license and registration check. Despite these instructions, the driver left the vehicle — an escalating behavior that can place officers at risk. The driver stood in the roadway and refused instructions to get back in his car. As a result, the driver was temporarily handcuffed. He was released at the scene shortly thereafter with a citation for failing to wear a seat belt.”
UCLA police said they will review video of the incident.
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