LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Sheriff Alex Villanueva says a criminal investigation is underway after a video of a traffic stop involving Los Angeles County deputies is raising questions about department policy.
Passenger Omar Medina captured video Sunday afternoon, when he says his brother Jesus was driving away from a 7-Eleven ATM in Lynwood to go pick up a bumper when they were stopped.
Medina says the deputy told them they were stopped for tinted windows and expired license plates.
“It’s a regular traffic citation, you know, a fix-it ticket,” he said. “The DMVs are closed, we can’t do anything about nothing.”
For much of the video, the deputy appears to have his hand on the door handle while Omar, Jesus, and a nephew are in the back telling him to call his supervisor and Omar is calling 911.
“He stuck his hand and just tried to open it, he hasn’t even asked me for my license insurance or nothing,” said Medina.
More deputies are seen arriving on scene and they struggle to pull 33-year-old Jesus out of the car and arrest him.
When asked about the incident, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the rear passenger was later arrested for possession of methamphetamine for sale.
“There was an act of trying to rid of…the narcotics from the location, however it was intercepted thankfully by a bystander, the entire thing may have just been a distraction,” said Villanueva.
Medina – who said he didn’t know anything about his teenage nephew and whether he had drugs – says they were both taken to jail that day and released the following morning.
His brother Jesus is still in custody on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, resisting an officer with force, and driving without a license.
Villanueva says a female deputy was hit in the stomach and broke her arm in three places. The sheriff said a criminal investigation is ongoing, but he is pledging to review policy and protocol to see if there was soemthing the deputies could have done differently.
Medina, however, believes this was about abuse of power.
“Police brutality is at an all-time high right now, especially with this coronavirus going around now,” he said.