Nov 12 2012
This past Friday, a Los Angeles Superior Court Jury awarded Allen Harris, a disabled African American man in his 50s who was brutally handcuffed by the LAPD, close to $1.6 million dollars in damages. The jury then returned to court the next day to order the police officer who carried out the arrest, Alex Tellez, to pay an additional $90,000 from his own personal funds to compensate for Harris’ suffering.
Three years ago in November 2009, Harris, who is partially paralyzed on his left side due to a stroke, was in his Inglewood apartment when 10 LAPD officers entered with a search warrant for his son. After taking his son into custody, the police officers then ordered Harris to put his hands behind his back. Harris, in his semi-paralyzed state, was unable to move his arm and despite repeatedly stating that fact, LAPD officer Tellez forcibly handcuffed Harris and slammed him against the wall breaking his already injured collar bone. Officers eventually replaced the original cuffs after Harris pled with officers that they were too tight but doctors brought in from both sides to examine Harris’ wrist verified that severe nerve damage had occurred from the incident.
During the trial, Officer Tellez denied having handcuffed Harris and the 9 other officers who were present at the scene refused to give testimony. Jurors, who were frustrated by the officers’ reticence about the events of that day awarded an unusually high amount in damages to Harris. Juror Gayle Chavkin stated, “It was completely unbelievable to us that out of 10 officers, no one remembered anything. It was the same testimony over and over and over: ‘I don’t recall. I don’t recall.”
While, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck was quoted as saying, “I am disappointed by the verdict and the monetary award in this case,” the Los Angeles Police Department has racked up a long list of violent forcible arrests caught on camera in the past few months. Recent cases involving the use of excessive force include 20 year old Venice skateboarder Ronald Weekley Jr. and registered nurse Michelle Jordan. In the case of Alesia Thomas, police officers kicked her so violently that she died shortly after being arrested.
GUESTS: Allen Harris, plaintiff, and his attorney, V. James DeSimone, an attorney with Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris Hoffman & Harrison, LLP.
There will be a press conference on Tuesday at 10 am in front of the LA County Superior Court, 111 N Hill Street, Los Angeles.