Andre Olivas, from Buffalo, New York, is suing the Los Angeles Country Sheriff’s Department, multiple deputies, and Sheriff Alex Villanueva after cellphone video footage showed deputies holding the man down and hitting him in the head during a traffic stop for expired tags in Long Beach, California.
Olivas’ attorney, James DeSimone, filed the excessive force lawsuit on behalf on Wednesday, Dec. 8, telling Fox 11 that the deputies’ actions during the stop went “beyond excessive force.”
Olivas, who is Black, was pulled over while leaving a gas station last February because the vehicle he rented for work-related use had expired tags, the outlet reported. The 28-year-old told reporters that he was in Southern California trying to expand his business — he owned a transport and moving company.
“His explanation to me was, usually in his experience, if there’s an expired license plate or bad license plate, usually the truck is stolen,” Olivas said. The man said he told the deputies that he was unaware the tags had expired.
Olivas said he gave the officers “the same respect I give my mom.” “For lack of a better word, I’m not trying to dance around anything,” he added.
However, things soon turn took a violent turn when he could not find the registration and the deputies asked him step out of the vehicle. Olivas said in the interview that when he responded by asking to speak to a supervisor the deputies attacked him. His suit says he was hit several times and restrained him to the point that he couldn’t breathe.
“After slamming me on the hood of his vehicle, he started to Mace me near my face.” Olivas said, noting that at times he almost lost consciousness. “Oh my God, I’m scared.’ I’m just trying not to do anything to make them think I’m trying to struggle or fight,” he recalled of the incident. The man claims the incident left him with permanent brain and emotional trauma.
The video that Olivas and his attorney says shows the deputies beating the New York state man apparently was recorded by a nearby witness with a cellphone.
In a statement to FOX11, the LASD says it hasn’t seen Olivas’ complaint yet and was not going to speak on the matter now, adding that “Sheriff Alex Villanueva has been the most transparent Sheriff in history and has implemented historic reforms in order to address potential misconduct.”
“I kind of feel like that’s what really escalated it, was me asking to speak to a supervisor,” Olivas expressed. “Everything I wanted to do was comply and give them the information that they need. To be honest, [I was] scared for my life. I didn’t know what was going on because it was without any warning.”
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