UNITED STATES NEWS

Mother punched in face while she held her baby sues Los Angeles sheriff’s department

Jul 26, 2023, 9:25 AM | Updated: 12:02 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman who was punched in the face by a deputy as she held her baby sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, alleging excessive force and wrongful arrest.

Yeayo Russell filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the department and the deputies involved in the July 2022 traffic stop in Palmdale, northeast of Los Angeles. The department released body camera video this month.

“This case is about more than just punches,” said Jamon Hicks, one of Russell’s attorneys. “It is about the way the deputies treated this mother.”

Asked to comment on the lawsuit, the sheriff’s department said in a statement Wednesday that the FBI is investigating and that officials are cooperating.

“The Sheriff’s Department affirms that the FBI has made contact to gather documents and other materials pertaining to a use-of-force occurrence in Palmdale,” the department said. “The Department will fully assist in the ongoing investigation, working closely with local, state, and federal investigative agencies.”

Russell was a passenger in a car that was stopped for driving at night without headlights. The deputies smelled alcohol and saw three babies who, instead of being in car seats, were being held, authorities said.

The male driver was arrested on suspicion of driving on a suspended license, driving under the influence of alcohol and child endangerment. Russell and three other women in the car were held on suspicion of child endangerment.

The edited video released by Sheriff Robert Luna shows Russell’s child being taken from her as she shrieks and then a second woman sitting cross-legged on the ground, holding another baby.

Deputies try to persuade Russell to give them the child, and she responds, “You’ll have to shoot me dead before you take my baby,” the video shows. As she resists, a deputy punches her several times in the face, and she is handcuffed.

Russell spent four days in jail, separated from her weeks-old infant, causing her distress, Hicks said.

“Hours and hours she had no idea where her child was. Hours and hours she had no idea if her child was OK,” he said.

Russell is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against the 10 deputies involved in her arrest and jailing.

The deputy who punched Russell was taken off field duty, Luna said when he released the video July 13. The sheriff said that he found the punching “completely unacceptable” and that he had sent the case to the county district attorney’s office, which will decide whether to charge the deputy. He said he also alerted the FBI.

Luna, a former Long Beach police chief, took over the department in December after defeating incumbent Alex Villanueva and vowed to overhaul the nation’s largest sheriff’s department.

“It’s unfortunate that it took a year for this video to even come out. This is something that the public should have seen right away. And the fact that it took a year, and again credit Sheriff Luna for exposing it, shows the mentality of the county sheriffs in that area,” Hicks said.

Federal monitors continue to oversee reforms that the department agreed to for the Palmdale and Lancaster stations, which are among the busiest in the county.

In 2015, the sheriff’s department settled federal allegations that deputies in those stations had engaged in excessive use of force and racially biased policing that included disproportionately stopping or searching Black and Latino people.

United States News

Associated Press

Pursuit of Milwaukee carjacking suspects ends with police shooting 2 teens in stolen vehicle

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A police pursuit of carjacking suspects in Milwaukee ended Thursday with police firing into the vehicle and injuring two teens, one of whom was pregnant and lost her baby, Milwaukee police said. Officers tried to stop the stolen vehicle just before 2:30 p.m. on Interstate 43 north of Milwaukee. The pursuit ended […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

2 crop dusting airplanes collided in southern Idaho, killing 1 pilot and severely injuring the other

ARCO, Idaho (AP) — Two crop dusting airplanes collided near an airport in southern Idaho on Thursday and crashed to the ground, killing one of the pilots and leaving the other with life-threatening injuries, officials said. The crash was reported at about 12:30 p.m. in an area covered by sage and grass near the airport […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Seattle police officer fired for off-duty racist comments

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle police officer was fired for calling his Chinese American neighbor racist and sexist slurs while off duty in 2022, according to a news report. Officer Burton Hill was fired in May, The Seattle Times reported. The termination stemmed from an altercation with his neighbor, Zhen Jin, over the disposal of […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Appeals court panel refuses to delay Trump ally Steve Bannon’s 4-month contempt prison sentence

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court panel on Thursday rejected longtime Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon’s bid to stay out of prison while he fights his conviction for defying a subpoena from the House committee that investigated the U.S. Capitol attack. Bannon is supposed to report to prison by July 1 to begin serving […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

2 killed in helicopter crash in Washington state, authorities say

BLUESTEM, Wash. (AP) — Two men died in a helicopter crash in eastern Washington state, authorities said. Lincoln County Fire District 6 Chief Brandon Larmer told KREM-TV that the helicopter had two people aboard when it crashed Wednesday afternoon. The men who died were identified Thursday as 68-year-old Ryan Sandvig, of Spokane, and 63-year-old Mark […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Gold bars and Sen. Bob Menendez’s curiosity about their price takes central role at bribery trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors showed jurors at Sen. Bob Menendez ’s trial on Thursday multiple instances when he researched the value of gold as he tried to help a New Jersey businessman who authorities say bribed him with gold and cash. The evidence about the Democrat’s online searches was prominently displayed to a New […]

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Mother punched in face while she held her baby sues Los Angeles sheriff’s department