LAPD video shows Black man arrested by officers in search for white suspect
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge ordered the release of police body camera video that shows two Los Angeles Police Department officers arresting a Black man near his home in Hollywood even though they were looking for a white domestic violence suspect.
The 11-minute video was disclosed as part of an ongoing lawsuit accusing the LAPD of racial profiling and civil rights violations.
The video shows the chaotic arrest of music producer Antone Austin, known as Tone Stackz, and his girlfriend.
The incident happened in May 2019 in Hollywood. Austin, 42, was taking out his trash outside his apartment when two LAPD officers suddenly pulled up and ordered him to turn around.
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Without explanation, the officers immediately attempted to handcuff a struggling Austin and became upset with him when he didn't comply, according to a federal lawsuit filed against the city of Los Angeles one year ago.
As Austin was being detained, his girlfriend came running out of the apartment and was also arrested without cause, the pair alleges in the legal claim. Both Austin and the woman were held in jail for hours, paying a total of $57,000 in bail, according to the suit.
Prior to — and during — the arrest, the officers are heard saying they don't know who they were looking for.
As the patrol car passes Austin and then turns back, one officer asks, "This dude?" and his partner responds, "Probably."
They didn't even have a description of the domestic violence suspect.
It turned out that the real domestic violence suspect was the white ex-boyfriend of Austin's neighbor.
The couple's media representative said Austin was initially charged with resisting arrest and assault on a police officer, but the assault charge was eventually dropped.
His 30-year-old girlfriend, Michelle Michlewicz, was charged with interfering in the arrest, a charge carrying a prison sentence of up to four years.
The status of the charges was not immediately available Wednesday. An LAPD spokesman said that according to policy, the department does not comment on pending litigation.
In court filings, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office argues that the couple's claim is without merit and should be dismissed, and that Austin and his girlfriend are to blame for the incident. Attorneys for the city also allege that the two LAPD officers are immune from liability.
The lawsuit is set for jury trial in October in downtown Los Angeles.
The couple's attorney, Faisal Gill, said the officers didn't know who they were looking for when they arrived at the scene in response to a domestic disturbance call involving the white neighbor.
"It was racial profiling,'' Gill alleged. "No question about it and to add injury to insult they arrest my clients, put them in jail ... Even the woman who called 911 tried to tell the officers that they had the wrong person."
Cannick said that "just because someone didn't die, it's still serious. Here we voted for body cameras, and they're fighting to keep them secret."
CNS contributed to this report.