Questions Of Force Emerge After Death Of Man Stopped On Traffic Violation
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Police Department is facing new questions regarding the circumstances leading up to the death of a father of three who was stopped on a traffic violation earlier this month.
The confrontation unfolded Aug. 2, when officers with the Newton Division stopped 37-year-old Omar Abrego Figueroa after receiving a report of erratic driving.
The LAPD said in a written statement issued Aug. 11 that before stopping Abrego, two sergeants working gang detail were informed by a pedestrian of a “suspicious car driving erratically.”
Not long after, officers reportedly spotted the vehicle they say was driven by Abrego allegedly traveling at a high rate of speed and weaving in and out of traffic. According to police, the vehicle nearly struck a pedestrian.
It was at that point officers stopped Abrego, whom they allege ran, and an altercation ensued. Abrego reportedly struck his head, and was taken to an area hospital where he died the following morning.
However, one witness to the confrontation told CBS2’s Dave Lopez that Abrego didn’t run and didn’t fight. Tamila Boglin told Lopez that she was standing outside around 5 p.m. when the confrontation unfolded.
Another neighbor, who did not want to be identified, provided cellphone video that shows a handcuffed Abrego on the ground while officers try to subdue him.
The LAPD says one officer sustained a fracture to a hand while the other injured a knee.
No video has surfaced depicting a foot chase leading to Abrego’s arrest.
Lopez reports that three investigations are underway.
Meanwhile, Abrego’s mother told Lopez she’s convinced the LAPD beat her son to death. An attorney representing the family says he plans to wait for the release of the final autopsy report before determining the next step.
Abrego is expected to be buried Saturday.
The deadly confrontation marked one of two this month involving the Newton Division. On Monday, a deadly shooting claimed the life of 25-year-old Ezell Ford.