One year ago tomorrow, on July 13, 2022, just prior to midnight, Palmdale Station deputies conducted a traffic stop after seeing a car driving at night without headlights. During the traffic stop, deputies smelled alcohol coming from the vehicle. There were also four females and three infants in the vehicle. The infants were being held in the arms of the mothers without the use of child car seats.
As a result, deputies on scene made the discretionary decision to arrest the passengers and the driver for felony child endangerment. The male driver was also arrested for driving suspended license and driving under the influence of alcohol. Additional deputies and a supervising sergeant arrived to assist with the traffic stop.
During the arrests of the females a use of force occurred on two of the women to affect the arrest and gain control of the infants. One of these uses of force involved a mother and her three-week-old infant, who was refusing to let go of her child. During the encounter a deputy punched the female twice in the face.
This use of force was assigned to the Internal Affairs Bureau for an investigation shortly after the incident.
The event was captured on the deputies Body Worn Camera, and we have released the video today, in accordance with our commitment to transparency.
As your Sheriff, I want to speak clearly and directly to our community about this incident. I found the punching of the woman in these circumstances unacceptable. While this incident occurred one year ago, before my term as Sheriff began, I took swift action upon learning of this incident several days ago. I must note that state law precludes me from disclosing disciplinary actions taken in this matter.
I directed our Professional Standards Division to refer this incident to the District Attorney for criminal consideration. The Los Angeles FBI Office will also looking into this matter.
I have spoken with local elected officials, along with community and religious leaders, to discuss this incident.
Even during our most difficult moments – we must continue to work together as a community to build bridges, to have those painful and candid conversations. And that is my commitment, so we can establish public safety and public trust for this Department.
I have said it before, and I will repeat it again; the vast majority of our deputies and professional staff are doing incredible work on behalf of the 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. I remain in awe of the professionalism, commitment, and courage shown by members of our Department each and every day.
I was elected as Sheriff to keep our communities safe, and to bring new leadership and accountability to this department. And that’s exactly what we will do. My goal is to ensure services are respectful, empathetic, and constitutional.
That is our standard – which is what Los Angeles County deserves from this Department.