Footage captured by a Los Angeles Police Department officer’s body camera that shows officers detaining a Black man in 2019 during a search for a white suspect was unsealed by a federal judge on April 2.
The 11-minute video made public by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian shows officers detaining 42-year-old Antone Austin in 2019.
A protective order requested by the LAPD had kept the footage under wraps for months until the judge removed it on Friday after siding with the couple’s attorney.
Court documents claimed allowing the public to see the footage would “be contrary to LAPD policy and may have a chilling effect on future LAPD investigations.”
Austin said he was moving trash cans around his Hollywood home on May 24 when LAPD officers showed up and detained him before placing him under arrest. Austin and his girlfriend, 30-year-old Michelle Michlewicz, who was also arrested, were held at a jail for several hours before posting bail.
Austin filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles last year, alleging he was racially profiled in the search for a white domestic abuse suspect. Austin is a music producer who goes by the name Tone Stackz.
“It is racial profiling. They had no description of the suspect — a completely blank slate,” said attorney Faisal Gill, who represents both of them in the civil rights lawsuit. “They literally saw the first Black man, and they arrested him.”
According to the LAPD, officers responded to Fountain Avenue following a report of a man violating a restraining order. A representative for Austin said the suspect was white.
At the start of the video, two officers arrived via squad car at Austin’s home. “Is this the dude?” one officer asked. “Probably,” the other responded.
The officers exited the vehicle and one immediately instructed Austin, who can be seen standing on the sidewalk, “Turn around for me.”
“Why?” Austin asked.
“Because I told you to,” the officer said as Austin responded, “I live here.”
The officer said they’d received a call and added, “I don’t know who I’m looking for yet.”
The officers placed Austin in handcuffs as he repeatedly called for help.
His girlfriend, Michelle Michlewicz, came outside asking, “what’s happened?” as the four engaged in a struggle.
The officer’s body camera fell to the ground and continued to capture the ordeal. Michelwicz, who ran outside from taking a shower, is seen in a bathrobe.
“I’m not him, I’m not him,” Austin repeated. “You have the wrong guy!” Michelwicz shouted. The woman who called 911 also told officers they were arresting the wrong person. Her call allegedly disconnected before she could provide a complete description of the man.
During the struggle, Michelwicz’s robe opened, leaving her exposed. Officers continued to tell Austin and Michelwicz to “relax” and stop “resisting.”
Austin yelled, “Now you’re arresting my girl and she’s naked, bro. Look behind you, she has no clothes on.”
Both Austin and Michlewicz were arrested and taken to jail, where they were held for several hours before posting $57,000 bail. Austin was charged with resisting arrest and assault on a police officer, although the assault charge was dropped. Michlewicz was charged with interfering in the arrest.
The status of the two charges was not available as recently as April 7, according to ABC7.
Thee lawsuit is scheduled for jury trial in October. The LAPD does not comment on pending litigation, but court documents show the department believes Austin and his girlfriend are responsible for the incident.
“I just know that these are the situations that people that look like me die in,” Austin told NBC4 about the arrest. The couple has since moved to a new home.