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'Grey's Anatomy' shuttle driver files $20M lawsuit over LAPD traffic stop

CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (March 18 AM Edition) 01:43

A production driver for the television series "Grey's Anatomy" filed a lawsuit Thursday against Los Angeles police, claiming he was racially profiled about a year ago when he was allegedly stopped and detained by officers who erroneously believed he was behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle.

The civil complaint filed on behalf of 31-year-old Ernest Simon, who is Black, seeks $20 million in damages, according to the law firm Larson LLP.

In his complaint, Simon alleges that he was on the job for Disney -- driving a rented Ford production van during an on-location shoot in Tarzana on March 18, 2021 -- when he was stopped by LAPD officers at the production's base camp.

According to the complaint, the officers had run a license plate check on the van which erroneously matched it to a stolen BMW sedan.

It alleges that after Simon was pulled over, seven "speeding squad cars" arrived and LAPD officers forced him to "lie prone on an asphalt lot at gunpoint for over 20 minutes, using an overwhelming and unjustified show of force against Mr. Simon that caused him to legitimately (and understandably) fear that he was going to be shot at his workplace in front of his co-workers for simply being a Black man in the wrong neighborhood."

The officers purportedly ignored the pleas of a fellow Black crewmember who told them Simon was a Disney employee, the complaint states.  They also ignored a production security guard. It wasn't until a white crewmember did the same that Simon was released, the complaint said.

Defendants in the complaint include the city of L.A., the LAPD and LAPD Chief Michel Moore.

The LAPD did not immediately comment on the lawsuit.

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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