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L.A. leaders seek probe after police allegedly "dumped" homeless man outside council president's office

LA City Council looking at issues surrounding homeless man dropped off by Burbank police
LA City Council looking at issues surrounding homeless man dropped off by Burbank police 02:18

The Los Angeles City Council will ask California's attorney general and local prosecutors to investigate after a video appeared to show Burbank police officers abandoning a homeless man on a North Hollywood sidewalk.

Surveillance video released earlier this month by City Council President Paul Krekorian appears to show two officers drop off a man on June 6 outside Krekorian's office on Lankershim Boulevard near Weddington Street in North Hollywood. In the footage, the officers uncuff the man and remove him from their patrol vehicle. He collapses to his knees and presses his head against the concrete as they drive away. 

Burbank police said the officers were trying to help the man and that he declined medical treatment when it was offered to him. Krekorian said some of his staff members found the man about seven hours later, when he told them that he was homeless and had a broken leg.

Burbank police left a man on a sidewalk in North Hollywood, seemingly abandoning him. LA City Council President Paul Krekorian slammed the officers' handling of the man while the police department said they were trying to help him. 2nd Council District, City of Los Angeles

On Tuesday, the city council decided that it would ask the Los Angeles city attorney, L.A. County district attorney and California attorney general to investigate the incident. The motion passed by the council calls for "maximum appropriate legal action" against the city of Burbank and its police force.

It also requests that the city of Burbank — as well as its mayor and city council — provide the city of L.A. with its "policies on homelessness, relocation of unhoused individuals, and policy changes that will be made as a result of this incident."

Mary Movsesyan, a spokeswoman for the city of Burbank, said in a statement that the city "welcomes any investigation" and was already working on its own "rigorous internal" probe.

"As images depicted on video don't always relay the entire situation, the City of Burbank cautions against inflammatory rhetoric and a rush to judgment without the benefits of the investigation findings," Movsesyan wrote in the statement.

The day after the incident, Krekorian held a news conference during which he slammed the officers' handling of the man, describing their alleged actions as "callous, cruel, inhumane and also fundamentally irresponsible." He said the officers left the man "without giving any aid" and "without determining if there was anyone who could provide services to this person."

"To take somebody at this moment of maximum vulnerability — somebody seeking medical care, and dumping, literally dumping him on a sidewalk to fend for himself. It's a disgrace," Krekorian told reporters.

Meanwhile, the Burbank Police Department said the officers had picked up the man and tried to help him. Officers found the man nude at a bus stop near Buena Vista Street and Alameda Avenue, just outside Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, the department said.

Patricia Aidem, a spokeswoman for Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, said in a written statement that the hospital was "aware" of an incident the morning of June 6.

"Our understanding is that multiple calls were made to police, including one from a hospital security guard seeking help for a person on a city sidewalk who appeared to be in distress," Aidem said.

According to Burbank police, when officers found the man, they offered him clothes but he said he had his own and got dressed.

"The individual said he had a leg injury he had suffered many years ago, and officers learned he had left the hospital voluntarily prior to the officers' arrival," the department said in its statement, adding that the man declined medical care.

Burbank police said the man asked to be taken to a Metro Red Line station in North Hollywood, but on the way there, he wanted to be let out so he could get coffee. The department also said in the statement that it would be launching its own investigation.

"The Burbank Police Department is currently conducting an in-depth investigation into this incident, including the actions of the involved police officers," the statement says, adding that investigators will interview witnesses, look at all available footage — including from body cams — and review any other "relevant evidence."

"The Burbank Police Department remains committed to treating the unhoused community with compassion and respect, and thanks Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian for bringing this matter to our attention," the statement reads.

At the time, Krekorian said he had written a letter to the mayor of Burbank and planned to speak with him. He also said he was reaching out to local and state officials to see what legal action could be taken. 

"We do not take this concern lightly, as the City of Burbank's foremost priority is to provide our unhoused residents with the support and resources necessary to transition from the streets into stable and secure living conditions," Burbank Mayor Nick Schultz said in a statement.

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