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College student sues LAPD for brutal Taser beat down

Published time: October 04, 2012 20:29
Edited time: October 05, 2012 00:29
(AFP Photo / Kevork Djansezian)

(AFP Photo / Kevork Djansezian)

A 23-year-old college student is suing the Los Angeles Police Department after being brutally assaulted by several officers during a violent beat down in 2010.

Aibuidefe Oghogho tells Southern California’s CBS2 News that officers with the LAPD hammered his face and body relentlessly with multiple blows from batons and fists during an incident two years ago. Now he’s suing the department for use of excessive force, saying the officers’ actions were unwarranted since he was unarmed, had no criminal history and never resisted arrest.

The cops, on the other hand, see things differently.

Oghogho admits that he was holding an open bottle of beer in a paper bag en route to a Hollywood nightclub in 2010 when an officer exited an unmarked police car and accosted him. When the cop was close enough, Oghogho says he was pushed by the officer. According to the victim, he placed his hand on the officer’s chest and asked him to “stop,” to which, as he puts it, things quickly went south.

Video has now surfaced from a nearby surveillance camera showing two LAPD cops repeatedly attacking the suspect in the moments after.

“They picked me up, threw me onto this fence and they threw me onto the fence started hitting me while I was on the fence and then they slammed me down like head first,” Oghogho tells CBS2. “And I’m…and it’s the whole time they’re doin’ it, the whole time they’re doin’ it, I hear one officer keep punching me in my face, he’s telling me, ‘stop resisting arrest, stop resisting arrest’ and all I could say to myself was, ‘I’m not resisting.’”

By the time the event was over, nearly a dozen cops had responded to the scene and Oghogho was badly bruised, although he didn’t suffer any broken bones. At one point during the incident, however, one officer unleashed a 5-second blast of his Taser stun gun on the suspect.

“It hurts. It hurts. It really hurts,” Oghogho recalls. CBS2 says he described the Taser assault as the most painful part of the entire event.

Oghogho was arrested on the scene for suspicion of felony resisting arrest and was then treated for minor injuries. Attorney John Burton tells CBS2 that his client submitted to a blood-alcohol contest test immediately after and returned a reading of only .04, just half of the state’s legal limit on operating an automobile.

Once the police report was finished and the district attorney was made aware of the surveillance footage, Mr. Burton says the charges were dropped. Probably, the attorney adds, because the DA realized “this is a joke.”

Officer Jenkins of the LAPD wrote in his arrest report that Oghogho was “uncooperative and aggressive” and that he “began to swing his arms and fists wildly in an attempt to escape.” Striking the suspect with his baton was necessary, he added, “in order to stop his aggressive action and force him to the ground.”

“None of that is on the video and none of that makes any sense, and none of that happened,”Mr. Burton responds.

The LAPD thinks otherwise, though, and stands by the officers’ actions. In the official police report, Officer Jenkins attempts to legitimize each individual blow he unleashed on Oghogho, although Mr. Burton says that the documentation was not completed until after the officer was provided with a copy of the video.

Despite their defense, Oghogho and his attorney are now suing the LAPD and the officers involved over the incident that happened in Octoboer 2010. Burton adds that he expected the case to move quicker, but it took around 18 months before the city attorney’s office finally got around to hearing it.