From [HERE] The Long Beach City Council Tuesday, Nov. 13, may approve a $925,000 settlement in a case in which jurors found Long Beach police officers used excessive force while arresting a Long Beach man.
A federal jury in May 2017 awarded $620,000 to then-62-year-old Ray Webb and ruled officers used excessive force when they beat, repeatedly choked and shocked him during an October 2011 racially profiled traffic stop for a broken tail light. As part of the ruling, the court also ruled the city must pay Webb’s attorney fees.
Webb was hospitalized for two days after officers struck him more than 20 times with batons and a flashlight, according to court documents.
The Long Beach police officers involved in the incident were identified as Alejandro Cazares, Julie Lacey Ackerman, Harrison Moore and Tomas Diaz.
The jury found that officers illegally searched his vehicle, ordered him out of the car and proceeded to beat him with flashlights and batons before shocking him with a Taser several times. Webb, who has a heart condition, has suffered a heart attack and experienced severe vision problems since the October 2011 incident, according to the lawsuit.
Mr. Webb was allegedly stopped for a busted taillight. Somehow, police discovered that Mr. Webb's passenger was a probationer and asked both Mr. Webb and passenger to exit the vehicle. Then a search was conducted, which allegedly uncovered drugs. When Mr. Webb was approached by an officer, they accidentally collided, which set off the officer.
"I knew they was upset," Webb, a retired truck driver who has lived in Long Beach for nearly four decades, said in a phone interview on Wednesday. "I seen them coming at me and that told me just to drop."
Webb said he crumpled to the ground and raised his arms to protect himself. The officers then struck him at least 20 times with batons and "heavy-duty flashlights," the complaint said. Webb lost consciousness at least twice during the clash, as officers "took turns" placing him in chokeholds, according to the suit.
"Although at least four officers were present, they made no attempt to communicate with each other, deescalate the situation or even handcuff Plaintiff throughout the assault," according to the lawsuit. "At no time during the encounter was a specific command or an opportunity to comply with any order, lawful or otherwise, ever given to Plaintiff, who was vastly outnumbered, unarmed, made no threats, and struck no one."
Mr. Webb was beaten with batons, flash lights, placed in choke holds, despite providing no indication that he was not willing to comply. The beating lasted for several minutes, with four officers participating, during which Mr. Webb did not fight back. In addition to the beating, Mr. Webb was also charged criminally for the drugs allegedly found in his vehicle.
Webb said that he was kept in a chokehold the entire time and that one officer approached him and began swinging a baton, without a word. As the blows rained down, two officers also took turns choking Webb to the point of unconsciousness, Tiomkin said.
The search of the vehicle was later deemed to be unlawful in violation of the 4th Amendment by a Superior Court judge, according to court records. The judge granted a motion to suppress evidence due to the illegal search. After the drugs were suppressed, the criminal charges against Mr. Webb were dropped.
Even more shocking, of the four officers involved, three are still employed by the department and remain on active patrol duty, and one resigned last year.Sgt. Brad Johnson, a Long Beach police spokesman, said Cazares, Ackerman and Moore remain on duty and assigned to the patrol bureau. Diaz resigned in April 2016 and is no longer employed by the city, according to Johnson, who would not say why.
Johnson declined to comment on Webb's description of events or the verdict. He also declined to say what, if any, discipline the officers faced, citing state law that bars such information from being made public. [MORE]