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LA cops facing lawsuit for arresting black man during search for white suspect

Newshub logo Newshub 8/04/2021 Crystal Wu
Watch: LAPD officers arresting Austin without explanation. © Video - LAPD; Image - LAPD Watch: LAPD officers arresting Austin without explanation.

The LA police department (LAPD) is under fire for wrongfully arresting a black man during a search for a white suspect.

A video released on Friday (local time) was part of an ongoing lawsuit against the LAPD of racial profiling and civil rights violations.

In May 2019, two officers arrested a black man outside his Hollywood home as they responded to reports of a domestic violence incident.

Antone Austin, 42, was taking the rubbish out when police suddenly pulled up and ordered him to turn around.

"When I first saw the cops, I looked at them with more of a smile, 'Hey, how are you doing,' type of vibe," he told NBC news.

"And when I realised that they were coming at me and I could see the anger in these cops' eyes while they were approaching me, it was like, 'What is happening?'"

Without explanation, the officers attempted to handcuff Austin. As Austin was being detained, his girlfriend came running out of the apartment to intervene and was also arrested without explanation.

The pair were held in jail for hours and paid a total of US$57,000 (NZ$81,200) in bail.

LAPD officers didn't have a description of the suspect and were heard saying they didn't know who they were looking for.

"Is it this dude?" one officer said in the video.

"Probably," another responded.

The real domestic violence suspect was the white ex-boyfriend of Austin's neighbour. The couple's attorney, Faisal Gill, accused the officers of racial profiling.

"The police had zero justification to arrest my client," Gill said on Wednesday (local time).

"He never took a swing. He never acted inappropriately. He never hit them. He never attacked them - he did nothing.

"It was racial profiling - no question about it."

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