An attorney has called for a federal investigation after he says LAPD officers intentionally fabricated and, or withheld crucial evidence regarding a violent arrest of a mentally ill homeless man that was captured on cellphone video and recently released.
Cellphone video released Wednesday shows eight Los Angeles Police Department officers using a Taser on Samuel Calhoun Arrington, as well as hogtying him and repeatedly punching him on the Venice boardwalk near Sunset Avenue and Ocean Front Walk (map), attorney Nazareth Haysbert said.
“He was doing absolutely nothing to anyone,” Haysbert said. “He was no danger to himself or anyone else. He was trying to enjoy a day at the beach.”
In the August 7, 2014, incident, officers moved in to arrest 52-year-old Arrington after he allegedly refused to take a ticket for several municipal code violations, including “items placed on (the) city beach” and “property outside of designated space,” according to Haysbert.
Officers can be heard warning Arrington in the cellphone video.
“If you don’t sign ticket, you will be arrested,” an officer said.
Arrington was unarmed and can be seen reclining in a chair when the brutal encounter occurred, Haysbert stated in a letter to the FBI on Wednesday.
“He was hospitalized and later charged with felony resisting arrest and remained in county jail for over one month on the charges,” the letter stated.
The video shows “chilling” differences between what police reported and what is seen, Haysbert told the FBI.
“Suspect Arrington lunged at one of the officers and attempted to grab his Sam Browne (belt),” the police report stated, according to Haysbert.
Haysbert also said the report stated that after an officer grabbed Arrington’s arm, he “immediately broke the officer’s hold by aggressively moving his arms forward and then pulling his arms toward his body.”
Video shows that neither allegation is true, Haysbert stated in the letter to the FBI.
“The video recording raises concern that the LAPD officers intentionally fabricated and, or withheld crucial evidence that may have resulted in the dismissal of criminal charges against Mr. Arrington,” Haysbert stated. “The willful concealment of this evidence holds criminal implications for these officers.”
The police report also stated that the only recorded evidence collected included interviews and photographs taken of officers and Arrington after the arrest, but the bystander’s cellphone video showed LAPD Sgt. Skinner recording the incident on what appeared to be a cellphone, the letter stated.
Arrington’s personal effects, including his clothing, bicycle, bookbag, medical card, and other items were also left at the scene by police and never recovered.
Arrington’s sister told KTLA the cellphone video took her breath away.
“To me, what they did in full view of every person on Venice Beach was to strip a homeless man, someone mentally ill, of their last shred of humanity,” Cleo Battle said.
Prior to the August 2014, incident, Arrington was hospitalized on July 29, 2015, with neck, back and shoulder injuries after a “brutal attack by the very same officers,” according to Haysbert.
Years prior, “Arrington was beaten by LAPD officers so badly that he needed 18 staples to close a large wound on his head,” Haysbert said of a June 27, 2011, incident. “He was hospitalized and then jailed for over 18 months where he suffered repeated episodes of fainting, severe headaches and syncope.”
And in a third 2014 incident, Arrington was shot with a Taser and beaten by LAPD officers on Jan. 5, the attorney said.
“Collectively, these incidents reveal a pattern or practice of criminal deprivations of Mr. Arrington’s civil rights,” Haysbert stated in the letter to the FBI, asking them to investigate.
KTLA has reached out to the LAPD for comment but has not yet received a response.