Four Los Angeles police officers were caught on cell phone camera taking down 20-year-old Ron Weekley Jr. in front of his home on Monday night, KTLA-TV reports.
One of those officers is shown clearly punching Weekley in the face, even though his hands were behind his back and two other officers were on top of him. Weekley was not armed and appeared to pose no threat to the arresting officers.
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Weekley Jr. and his family are claiming that the officers racially profiled him. The LAPD claims that Weekley had warrants out for his arrest and that he was resisting arrest when officers tried to apprehend him. They allege that he was skateboarding on the wrong side of the street.
A friend, Alexis Parker, says Weekley initially ignored officers’ request to stop skateboarding because he figured they were going after people across the street that she describes as gangsters, according to LA Weekly. Parker also claims Weekley did not want to become a witness in any police arrest against the so-called gangsters.
But she says she was surprised to see the officers approach Weekley and throw him to the ground. Parker says Weekley never resisted the officers.
He told KTLA-TV told that, with so many cops on him, he could not possibly resist them:
“With four police officers on me like they are the video, there’s nothing I could do,” he said. “When the officers were striking me in the face, I could do nothing but scream for help.”
Weekley says he suffered a broken nose, a broken cheekbone and a concussion.
“It’s embarrassing, it hurts,” he said, fighting back tears. “I didn’t do anything. All I did was get on my skateboard.”
Authorities say Weekley was wanted on three outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrants.
His father, Ron Weekley Sr., said those warrants were for violating curfew several years ago, and they were not the probable cause for the stop.
Those warrants, according to the Los Angeles Times, related to “curfew and bicycle riding violations when Weekley was 16 and driving without a license when he was 18.”
Watch LAPD Straddle And Hit Ron Weekley During His Arrest
During a press conference, Weekley’s lawyer Benjamin Crump said the arrest shows all of the signs of racial profiling.
“Why did they assault and confront this college student?” Crump asked. “Was it because he was on the wrong side of the road, or was it because he was the wrong color?”
Crump says that his client suffered a concussion, broken cheekbone and broken nose from the arrest. He says his office will release medical records soon. Crump says Weekley has been on a liquid diet since his arrest.
The LAPD told LA Weekly that an internal investigation into Weekley’s case is underway and that the community should “stay calm” as it proceeds. There is no word on whether the officers involved in Weekley’s arrest are still on duty or on leave.