LAPD Facing Lawsuit After Officers Arrest Black Man During Search For White Suspect
HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Police Department is facing a civil suit after officers arrested a Black man outside of his home during a search for a white suspect in 2019.
In newly released video obtained by court order, officers can be seen detaining music producer Antone Austin outside of his Hollywood home in what his attorneys said was a case of racial profiling, excessive force and wrongful arrest.
According to the LAPD, officers initially responded May 24, 2019 to Fountain Avenue for a call of a man suspected of violating a restraining order. According to Jasmyne Cannick, a representative for Austin, the suspect was white.
In the video, Austin, who is Black, can be heard repeatedly telling the officers they had the wrong man, but the situation escalated when Austin said an officer tried to handcuff him after stating that he did not know who he was looking for that day.
"Had the approach been different, you know, they would have gotten my name, they would have found out this is where I lived," Austin said.
Michelle Michlewicz, Austin's girlfriend, ran out of her apartment with just a robe when she heard the scuffle.
"Before I even could come up to the situation, one of the cops turned around and pushes me," she said. "I fall completely out of my robe."
The video also shows a second woman — identified as the one who placed the 911 call — telling officers that Austin was not the right man.
"In terms of community relations, no, this video is not going to help them because it still shows that we are still — we, meaning Black people — are still being treated by the LAPD, in particular, like we're less than them," Cannick said Wednesday.
Austin and Michlewicz said they were held at LAPD's Hollywood Station and a downtown jail for hours before they were able to post bail and were released — an arrest they said could have been avoided.
"We're people," Austin said. "And they've gotten so comfortable treating us like we're not."
As for the lawsuit, the couple is asking for damages and reform in officer training. LAPD said it does not comment on pending litigation.
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