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LA Co. Sheriff’s Deputies Sued for Beating & Disfiguring Black Man During Traffic Stop

A federal lawsuit filed on June 21, 2021, accuses a half-dozen deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office (LACSO) of brutalizing a suspect during a traffic stop in 2020.

The plaintiff, 37-year-old Christopher Bailey, who is Black, says he was left permanently disfigured after the officers placed him in a chokehold and repeatedly punched him in the face, knocking his eyeball from its socket and taking out two of his teeth. Despite multiple reconstructive surgeries, he still cannot see his injured eye, the suit claims.

Video shot by eyewitness Laura Shark after the May 4, 2020, incident shows damage to Bailey's face so extensive that Shark can be heard commenting that Bailey "doesn't even look human." The footage also captured other bystanders shouting at one of the deputies as he returned to his patrol cruiser in his bloody uniform.

Bailey claims he was not resisting the deputies when they attacked him, hitting him more than five dozen times, said his attorney, Toni Jaramilla. She said the officers also pulled down his pants and pulled up his shirt to repeatedly Taser Bailey’s naked torso.

“You can see seven laser burns on his stomach,” Jaramilla added.

He has pleaded no contest to the only charges forthcoming from the encounter—a single misdemeanor count of “sale/offer to sell/transportation of cannabis” plus a traffic ticket for failing to drive within lanes. He was sentenced to 12 months summary probation, according to the county District Attorney's office.

It was mid-afternoon, and Bailey was on his way home from working a shift at a mail sorting facility when he was pulled over for straddling traffic lanes in Inglewood and violently dragged from his car by two LACSO deputies, Kevin Walker and Shawn Groves. At some point, the other four deputies—Luis Cano, Jackson Hill, Matthew Seno, and Joshua Parga—arrived and allegedly piled on with the others to beat Bailey.

LACSO has conducted an Internal Affairs investigation, which is how Shark’s video came to enter the public domain and catch Jaramilla’s attention. Whether any of the deputies were disciplined is not clear, but no charges have been filed against them. The office of Sheriff Alex Villanueva declined to comment on the pending litigation. The county was also named as defendants in Bailey’s suit.

 

See: Christopher Bailey v. County of Los Angeles, et al., Case No. 2:21-cv-05017-FLA-KS, (C.D.Calif., 6/21/2021)

 

Sources: Los Angeles Times

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Related legal case

Christopher Bailey v. County of Los Angeles, et al.

 

 

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