A young man who was stopped by Los Angeles police for skateboarding on the wrong side of the street was then brutally beaten in an attack he claims left him with broken bones and concussion.
KTLA reports that 20-year-old Ronald Weekley Jr. was skateboarding in front of his Venice home when he was stopped by LAPD officers. Weekley claims the officer threw him to the ground.
"I turned around to two cops running directly at me and throwing me on the ground, putting my arms behind my back and tying my legs to my arms and telling me I was resisting arrest," Weekley told KTLA.
In a witness video shot on a cell phone camera, four LAPD officers can be seen piling on Weekley. One of the officers delivers a punch to the subdued skater's head. Weekley claims he suffered a broken nose, a broken cheekbone and a concussion as a result of the beating.
Police claim they used force on Weekley because he was resisting arrest on three outstanding misdemeanor warrants. But the young man says he wan't resisting.
"With four police officers on me like they are in the video, there's nothing I could do," he told KTLA. "When the officers were striking me in the face, I could do nothing but scream for help."
Chicago defense attorney Steven R. Hunter says suspects are often accused of resisting arrest in cases of police brutality.
"The police will claim they had to beat the suspect because he was resisting arrest," Hunter writes on his firm's website. "This gives them an explanation for the injuries to the arrestee. Since some suspects do resist arrest, it often comes down to the word of the officer against the word of the defendant."
Ron Weekley Sr., the skater's father, said the three warrants were for violating curfew years ago and were not grounds for stopping and beating his son. He believes his son was racially profiled and is demanding justice and charges against the officers who brutalized the young man.
"We want the chief of police to not only do an investigation, but we want him to train his officers better because they work in ethnic communities," Weekley Sr. told KTLA.
The LAPD has a long history of brutality. The most famous incident was the 1991 Rodney King beating, but there have literally been thousands of claims against officers. Most recently, Brian Mulligan, a senior executive at Deutsche Bank, filed a $50 million lawsuit against the LAPD claiming that he was kidnapped and beaten while being held in a hotel room by officers trying to steal the $5,000 he was carrying.
The LAPD said it is investigating the Weekley incident. LAPD Commander Andy Smith told KTLA that "an officer may use reasonable and necessary force to affect an arrest, overcome resistance or prevent the escape of a suspect."
"Use of force by officers may include striking a suspect with an officer's fist if the suspect is resisting arrest."