VENICE (CBSLA.com) — A skateboarder who claims police used excessive force when they arrested him has hired the attorney representing the family of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen who was shot to death by a neighborhood watch captain.
The Saturday afternoon arrest of Ronald Weekley Jr. was captured on cell phone video by a witness and shows four officers on top of the man, who is face down on a lawn. One of the officers appeared to punch Weekley in the face during the struggle.
“You see on that video there were several people who witnessed what happened,” attorney Benjamin Crump said at a news conference at Westminster Baptist Church in Venice. “Nobody said that Ronald Weekley Jr. did anything to attack the police.”
Crump represents the family of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, who was shot to death in February by a neighborhood watch captain. The neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, was arrested in April after intense public outcry over the shooting.
Crump questioned why police stopped Weekley in the first place.
“Was he stopped because he was on the wrong side of the road, or was he attacked because he was the wrong color?” Crump asked.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, officers saw Weekley at 6:25 p.m. Saturday skateboarding in traffic on Sunset Avenue in Venice, near Sixth Street, a violation of the vehicle code.
“Officers tried to stop and detain him, and there was a use of force,” LAPD spokesman Richard French said. “The suspect was arrested and booked for obstructing/resisting a police officer with force. Officers later found out that he had three outstanding warrants.”
French said the department was investigating allegations of excessive use of force, saying the arrest “will be thoroughly investigated and reviewed at all levels of the department.” He said the department was aware of the video of the arrest.
“We feel it would be inappropriate to discuss further details of the arrest, the use of force or the contents of the video until the conclusion of the investigation,” French said.
Weekley, who was released from jail Monday, says he suffered a broken nose, fractured cheekbone and concussion in the arrest. He denied that he was resisting arrest or made any effort to reach for an officer’s weapon.
“It’s not true,” he told reporters.
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