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.

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.

  • LAPD needs to extend an olive branch to the bicycling community. They need to continue to train officers on how to properly treat bicyclists and group rides but LAPD must also partner with the bike community in advocating for better infrastructure in this city to show bicyclists are an integral part of our transportation network. They need to vocally and organizationally support events like CicLAvia and they should take a leadership role and reach out to other city departments to create a safer city by reducing the enormous number of traffic fatalities in LA.

  • UrbanReason

    I think what the LAPD needs to do is a better job of screening the officer’s they hire and putting them through regular psychiatric evaluation. What a bunch of thugs – a disgrace to both the LAPD and the human species. I can’t imagine what could be going through their heads to randomly assault people on bikes. No matter what state they were in, there is no excuse for cops randomly attacking people and attempting to destroy the evidence.

  • Erik G.

    Apple should try to capitalize on the ruggedness of their product in this incident.

  • iraqNafghanistan

    Anyone else think that these officers might be recently returned veterans? I wouldn’t be surprised.

    I’d like to know more about who these cops in the Hollywood Division are, what they were thinking, and how to make other LAPD officers do what is safe next time instead of trying to “control” the situation.

    What is next? Stomping on drivers heading to Staples Center? Kicking people walking en masse to Dodger Stadium? When there is a big group of humans using the road, make sure they are safe, help direct traffic, and let them be. Arresting one man for the crimes of another is stupid and unsafe.

    The whole thing sounds like a bunch of PTSD stricken guys with LAPD uniforms on lashing out at something they couldn’t control.

  • This was a bad incident….. I am one of the members of LAPD BIKE TASK FORCE and this issue has been brought up many times during our meetings. There has been much progress with this task force…. there has been more progress in a couple of months than there has been the last couple of years!

    Unfortunately, this had to be captured on video in order for LAPD Top Brass to take action. Until this video surfaced, there only have been complaints of such behavior and it has been difficult to create change within the department.

    LAPD Chief Beck met with cyclist throughout the city at the BAC meeting last week. His presence along with a Commander, Assistant Chief, Internal Affairs and the Inspector General sent a message that this was being taken seriously.

    I like to thank LAPD Sergeant Krummer who took my call during the Memorial Day Holiday while he was enjoying time with his family to address this issue and start the ball rolling to start the process of an investigation.

    Within this incident there are a number of issues that need to be addressed. There were a number of police officers on scene during this incident, not one of them tried to restrain or talk to the other about their actions.

    In the video you see one of the Police Officers trying to destroy evidence by stomping on the cell phone and you see the screen crack.

    Another is the failure of the Watch Commander at the Hollywood Division not willing to take this matter seriously when my colleague on the Bike Task Force, Steven Box tried for him to take a report that misconduct was taken place. (The Watch Commander simply hung up the phone on Steven several times)

    The more obvious items are to address the way LAPD handles Group Rides and more to the point is how are they going to stop bike riders without throwing them to the floor and tossing our bikes with disregard to our property?

    Why are these bike riders being handcuffed for not having a light on their bike, or not stopping at a stop sign?

    Another point is why are their handbags, fanny packs, back packs being searched without probable cause? Most have been stopped because they did not have a tail light!

    Why does it take so long, ½ hour to one hour or more of being detained to write a ticket for not having a light or running a traffic light and the cyclist being handcuffed during that time. This does not happen to a motorist.

    My hopes is that there have been enough complaints by cyclist who have had this experience and now LAPD is taking a real good look at this practice and will be addressing such behavior sooner than later.

    This hot topic is now getting attention by not only cyclist but the main media. It is happening much too often now to ignore that a problem exists. Chief Beck has given his word to cyclist that it is a “TOP PRIORITY”.

    Thanks to all who take the time to document, photograph, complaint and share there experiences. That’s the only way to create this awareness.

    Carlos “Chapulin” Morales
    Founder of the EASTSIDE BIKE CLUB
    “Ride to Live and Live to Ride”

  • Allan

    Hell yeah, so glad to hear Manny is suing the department and the city! Sadly, having a chunk of cash taken out of the city’s all ready depleted budget is the only way to get their attention. You’d think the city learned it’s lesson from the May 1st debacle wouldn’t you? Guess not. With this lawsuit and having over 110,000 people seeing the video on Youtube alone can’t really help their image either. I can hear the rumbling now about this not looking good for our tourism or our image.

    Btw, these weren’t your typical jack-booted thugs in blue, but jack-booted thugs in blue assigned to bike patrol! Nice work guys!!!

  • I’m still holding out hope that this will not slow the progress that has been made under Beck and the cycling community. The words and actions of the LAPD’s top brass have been reported to be the right words and the right actions to address this whole mess.

  • joe

    one problem is that most police department psych evaluations compare new police department recruits to the most highly decorated officers of the past. Sadly with the LAPD. There are are lot of bad apples that were considered good cops in the past. So trying to get new behaviors out of the same type of cop as 20 years ago seems a bit backwards.

  • Eric

    This isn’t just a few rouge officers, this is a command failure. Complaints are ignored, a watch commander hangs up repeatedly on a citizen, and cyclists are handcuffed while being written tickets for traffic violations. Only until police officers are caught on video does anyone do anything. If LAPD delaysreprimands and education of their officers any longer they will have another Patrick Pogan level incident soon enough.

  • Edward

    What about our fellow cyclists who act like degenerates??????????????? WTF over? All the crying and finger pointing on here is all just a Utopian view leaving out a big part of why the cops are so frustrated with us. I am all for the re-education of the police department, but we have a duty to address the drunk morons that ride with us! C’mon Carlos, if you have the footing and connections. Call it what it is! and call these guys out! Or just sit back and watch this chance slip away. We’ll see if these guys have the stones to call out our fellow cyclists! It’s easy to bash the cops in a room full of haters, but show what kind of sack you have by calling out our worst offenders, and putting them on BLAST!

  • Edward,
    There are a handful of knuckleheads out there like in any business, organization, private or public that ruin it for everyone. Yes they are out there… I have addressed this in the past.

    If you seen a post I did earlier this year about THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY of a CRITICAL MASS RIDE, I did point out that there is a bad element that infiltrates amongst the cycling community.

    In that post I said that over 600 cyclist moved away from some taggers or gang members that started to spray paint a wall in Chinatown during one of the rest stops. The crowd did not condone their actions and left them behind. (they were on the roof top of an adjacent building)

    One thing that we as cyclist have talked about during many conversations is that we must self police the younger cycling community. If we don’t set examples or ignore the problem it will get worst. I do not personally know who these people are and they are not welcomed at any of the EASTSIDE BIKE CLUB group rides.

    There has been a couple of times when a couple of thugs tried to infiltrate our group. We let them know from the get go that we were not going to put up with any shenanigans, they left quietly and respectfully. I feel its about communication and respect that has kept us away from these type of people.

    I don’t have the answer Edward…… How would you propose to solve this situation?

  • I am a part of a large group of bicyclist that bicycles around the San Fernando Valley weekly that is centered out of the NoHo Red Line Station, Last night, 8/11, 2010, a large number of us bicyclist were traveling west bound on the bicycle path at Sepulvada Blvd. As ususal, we use crossing guards for safety purposes as used with school children at schools, or in funeral prosessions, and our traffic control monitor was stopped and cited for doing his dedicated duty, for which we are all thankful.

    Our traffic control monitor is Pablo Zepeda, who is now “summons” into court to answer for his “crime.” Last week or group of bicyclist was tailed by police to break up our bicycling group. It has become obvious that theire is now affloat to split up and divide and discourage bicyclist here in the Valley.

    We just cannot allow the establishment to use our limited tax dollars to discourage bicycling. I am Ron Branson, head of and have for years brought suits against government for corruption, only to have the judges throw out the lawsuits in an attempt to protect the government in its wrongdoing.

    We, the citizens, must fight faithfully to preserve our rights to travel by any means we see fit, whether it be for pleasure or for business. Your comments, advice and offer to assist in this endeavor is appreciated. I shall endeavor to direct all comments hereto toward the instant “leadership” of our bicycling group composing of upwards of 100 bicyclist.

    Ron Branson
    (818) 310-8999

    P.S. – We MUST help Pablo. It affects the rights of us all! A lost for Pablo is a lost for us! Pablo’s number is (818) 503-3025.


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