Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Skateboarder Punched In The Head By LAPD Officer
A 20-year-old Venice skateboarder and his family are accusing Los Angeles police of using unnecessary force after a video shows him pinned to the ground and an officer punching him in the face.
The incident unfolded Saturday afternoon when college student Ronald Weekley Jr. was riding his skateboard in the street when officers sought to detain him, police said. Weekley's attorney alleges that police grabbed him and threw him to the ground. Weekley suffered a broken nose, concussion and fractured cheekbone, said Ryan Julison, a spokesperson for attorney Benjamin Crump.
A video provided to KTLA shows Weekley on the ground with four officers on top of him. One officer is seen punching Weekley in the head.
The allegations are now being investigated by the LAPD's internal affairs unit, police said.
Cmdr. Andrew Smith told The Times that Weekley was riding his skateboard on the wrong side of the street. When officers tried to stop him, Weekley "tried to flee." Officers then struggled to control Weekley and used force to handcuff and subdue him, Smith said.
Weekley was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest and on three outstanding warrants, including one for failing to appear in court on a traffic violation.
Weekley's family is planning a news conference Tuesday with attorneys, alleging that he was subject to unnecessary force and racial profiling because he is an African American male, a family spokesman said.
In interview with KTLA's Eric Spillman, Weekley said, "It's embarrassing, it hurts. I didn't do anything. All I did was get on my skateboard."
[Updated 4:48 p.m.: On Monday afternoon, protesters gathered at the scene at 6th and Sunset avenues in Venice, where they waved signs that said "Stop Police Brutality" and "Honk 4 Justice." Some passing motorists honked their horns in support.]