Cyclist Who Filmed Critical Mass Attack Files Claim Against LAPD
Friday afternoon at the Petroleum Building in Downtown Los
Angeles, Manuel Gallegos and his attorney Hermez Moreno announced the filing of
a legal claim against the City of Los Angeles and the LAPD for assault,
battery, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and
intentional affliction of emotional distress. The full press release is available at the end of the article
Gallegos, an electrical engineer with a major aerospace
company, is the Boyle Heights resident who recorded the now famous altercation
between LAPD and cyclists at last week’s Critical Mass.
The claim describes the events from last Friday night as
“Shortly after capturing an image of an LAPD officer kicking
at the tire of a cyclists, Mr. Gallegos was chased down by LAPD officers, who
tackled him, dragged him off his bicycle and proceeded to beat and kick
him. During the course of the
beating, one as of yet unknown LAPD officer stomped and kicked Mr. Gallegos’
phone in what is believed to be an attempt to destroy evidence of the unlawful
conduct of the LAPD officers."
Mr. Gallegos’ filing with the Clerk of the City of Los
Angeles further alleges that LAPD officers violated Gallegos’ 1st, 4th,
and 14th Amendment Rights, namely the right to peaceably assemble,
freedom from excessive use of force, and the right to due process.
During his statement, Gallegos said he began recording the
LAPD on his iPhone when he saw officers trying to topple cyclists with their
batons. He then feared the worst
when he saw LAPD officers chase after him. As a result of being tackled, Gallegos suffered numerous
cuts and bruises, and to this day has numbness in his left hand from where
handcuffs dug into his wrists.
Attorney Hermez Moreno elaborated that he expects the
initial claim with the City and LAPD to be dismissed, as is common
practice. The initial claim is in
effect a procedural hurdle that will pave the way for Gallegos to file a
federal lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and LAPD for violating his
aforementioned Constitutional rights. They expect to be able to move forward with the federal suit in
approximately 45 days.
MORENO & PEREZ
A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION 714 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 450 Los Angeles, California, 90015 Tel.: (213) 745-6300
Fax: (213) 745-6060
On June 3, 2010, a government claim was filed against the City of Los Angeles and its police department as a precursor to the filing of a lawsuit against the City and its police officers for assault, battery, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress for the police assault on Mr. Manuel Gaellegos on May 28, 2010.
On Friday, May 28, 2010, Mr. Gallegos, a Los Angeles native and engineer in the field of electrical failure analysis, was cycling with a group of individuals as part of the monthly “Los Angeles Critical Mass” bike ride. Between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m., he was traveling eastbound on Hollywood Boulevard, when shortly after crossing the intersection with Highland Avenue he witnessed LAPD officers threatening to hit cyclists with their batons and attempting to stick their batons in the wheel spokes in an apparent attempt to make the cyclists topple and fall. Upon seeing a young boy pulled off of his bicycle and mishandled by an LAPD officer, Mr. Gallegos began filming the conduct of the officers. Shortly after capturing an image of an LAPD officer kicking at the tire of a cyclist, and questioning the officer as to why he had engaged in such conduct, Mr. Gallegos was chased down by LAPD officers, who tackled him, dragged him off of his bicycle and proceeded to beat and kick him. While lying on the ground Mr. Gallegos was given conflicting instructions from the LAPD officers– one told him to get up, while the other said to stay down. While Mr. Gallegos was on the ground, the video function on his I-phone continued to record, even while apparently being stomped on by an LAPD officer.
After Mr. Gallegos was brought to his feet, he was then handcuffed and detained by the LAPD officers for approximately 45 minutes. During the course of his detention, the LAPD officers failed to tell Mr. Gallegos what exactly he had done wrong until issuing him a citation for alleged violations of the California Vehicle Code, which he is currently in the process of fighting.
Anyone with any information pertaining to the May 28, 2010 “LA Critical Mass” Bike Ride and the actions of the Los Angeles Police Department are urged to contact Moreno & Perez at 213-745-6300.