FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 17, 2022
Re:Decorated Black Military Veteran Sues LAPD for Warlike Tactics During Traffic Stop
Case No. 2:22-cv-02640
MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Olney, Esq. - (626) 585-9600; firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVOCATES SUE LAPD FOR WARLIKE TACTICS DURING TRAFFIC STOP AGAINST DECORATED BLACK MILITARY VETERAN WITH PTSD
The complaint may be viewed here:
Lawyers from the Civil Rights firm Hadsell Stormer Renick & Dai sued the Los Angeles Police Department, several of its officers, and its Chief of Police for using illegal and violent so-called “high risk” tactics against Karl Augustus, a Black 41-year-old decorated combat veteran.
On June 11, 2021, LAPD officers pulled over Karl Augustus on his way to the gym. Even though Mr. Augustus had committed no crime, never presented any threat, and complied with all police orders, he was surrounded by approximately ten officers and an LAPD helicopter, held at gunpoint, forced to lie face down in the middle of the street, handcuffed, and detained.
After a lengthy detention, the officers finally told Mr. Augustus they had pulled him over believing his car was stolen. Another officer told Mr. Augustus that they had pulled him over simply because the license plate tags on his car were expired. Mr. Augustus has a history of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder from his military service, which included multiple tours in Iraq. He has been retraumatized by the LAPD’s use of warlike tactics.
The officers were following LAPD’s illegal and reckless policy of using “high risk” tactics during low risk traffic stops for non-violent potential property crimes. In 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal declared this practice unconstitutional, but the LAPD has defied the Court and continues to terrify and traumatize innocent Angelenos with its illegal practices.
Mr. Augustus’s experience is hardly unique. According to the LAPD’s own statistics, its officers conducted 3,524 stops of suspected stolen vehicles between 2018 and 2021. In 74% of these stops, the vehicle was not actually stolen—just like in Mr. Augustus’s case.
Karl Augustus said, “I was terrified. I feared for my life. I was worried that the police would kill me and that my pregnant wife would have to raise our daughter without me. I took an oath to serve and defend the Constitution of this country and did so on multiple combat operations abroad. I’m shocked to have been treated so brutally by police officers who swore to a similar oath.”
Attorney Brian Olney said, “Mr. Augustus repeatedly put his life on the line while serving our country in armed conflicts around the world. It is outrageous that the LAPD chose to subject him to these warlike tactics at home. It is time they stopped treating the streets of Los Angeles like a warzone.”
Attorney Cathi Choi said, “LAPD’s high risk traffic stop policy is yet another indication that the LAPD regularly uses highly-militarized and brutal tactics against innocent Angelenos on a daily basis. This policy is clearly illegal, but the LAPD believes they can act with impunity.”