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LASD Issues Statement About Use Of Force Allegation During Union Station Arrest

LOS ANGELES (  —  The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department issued a statement Saturday regarding the arrest of a 76-year-old woman at Union Station earlier this week that was captured on videotape.

The arrest  was described in a number of media outlets as rough and excessive.

The woman was forcibly removed from the reserved seats at Union Station on Wednesday around 11:15 p.m.

The woman was seated in an area reserved for ticketed passengers. Allied Universal Security, which patrols the station, called the LASD Transit Division for assistance.

The statement issued by the LASD said, "After approximately 17 minutes of negotiating with her, and her continued refusal to move from the area, the guards radioed for the transit policing deputies to assist."

They added, "During their contact, the suspect refused several orders by the deputies to stand and leave the area, even after deputies attempted to assist her in standing. At one point, as seen on the cell phone video, the suspect leaned forward toward the groin area of one of the deputies, and bit him on his gloved hand. That deputy pushed her away to stop her from biting him again, and attempted to subdue her in the chair, stop her assaultive actions, and now arrest her. During the attempt to subdue and handcuff the suspect, she bit the second deputy on his left wrist. Both deputies were ultimately able to handcuff her and she was arrested for trespassing and assault."

The suspect was transported to the hospital for medical examination. She was subsequently transported and booked at the Century Regional Detention Facility. She was released after booking, but elected to remain in custody until she could make arrangements for transportation.

The woman was released from custody at approximately 7:00 a.m. on Friday, authorities said.

RELATED LINK: Caught On Video -- Woman, 76, Forcibly Removed From Union Station Reserved Seats

The statement also said, "deputies were examined by Los Angeles City paramedics at the scene and were then taken to a local medical facility for follow up evaluation. They were both treated for visible bite marks and bruising."

Authorities said they interviewed the woman who shot the cellphone video.

"Her statements and the video will also become part of the investigation. Anyone else who witnessed the incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department," officials wrote.

In closing, the statement said, "The Sheriff's Department is aware of the public and media interest surrounding the video footage and the fact it captured portions of the incident that resulted in the use of force. We would like to ensure the public that the video, and any other evidence obtained, will become part of detailed administrative investigative process and will be thoroughly reviewed, along with the other facts of the incident, at all levels to determine exactly what occurred."

Meanwhile, civil rights activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson called on Sheriff Jim McDonnell to suspend the two deputies without pay.

"I was appalled and outraged, the deputies grossly over-reacted particularly after the woman indicated compliance to their demand that she  move," said Hutchinson. "Deputies (were)  caught on camera assaulting an elderly woman who posed no threat to the deputies."

Hutchinson said the video was just the latest embarrassment for the department.

"This is the absolute worst thing to embroil the sheriff's department  ... coming on the heels of the {Lee) Baca sentencing, the conviction of other  deputies for abuse and other scandal and the big public push by McDonnell for  reform, particularly in the use of excessive force."

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