Man claims deputies mistook him for suspect under pursuit, beat him
LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) - A man plans to sue Los Angeles County after he says deputies wrongfully detained him in relation to a dangerous pursuit as he and his family tried to get away from flying bullets.
Adrian Cruz says Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies beat him up and wrongfully detained him during a high-speed pursuit last Wednesday that spanned two counties. The pursuit came to an end in Hacienda Heights, where Cruz was with his family in their white sedan at a stoplight.
“The cop slammed into his [the suspect’s] car, slammed into mine. They immediately just start shooting, not one warning to get out of the way,” Cruz said.
Cruz says he was panicked by the situation, so he got out of his car to get his family away from the gunfire.
“As I’m doing so, I get mistaken for someone that I guess… they thought I was taking the car. They just start smashing me, immediately smashing my head, beating me up, dropping me to the ground, knees on my neck.”
Cruz says deputies handcuffed him and put him in the back of a cruiser, where he sat for over an hour.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson said Cruz was wrongfully detained and mistaken for the suspect. It was initially said that he was detained because he refused to get out of the line of fire.
“I was basically telling them, ‘Dude, what the heck are you doing? I’m just an innocent bystander. I’m trying to get out of your guys’ way to do your job,” he said.
Cruz plans to sue the county for $1.5 million because of what happened to him and his family, who watched the incident in horror.
“As they were smashing me out, my son was trying his hardest to get to me,” he said.
Cruz’s attorney, Greg Kirakosian, says there are circumstances where officers act beyond the law, and he feels strongly this is one of those cases.
“You would expect them to come forward and say, ‘We really messed up. We don’t know why we used so much force on an individual that was just an innocent bystander,’” Kirakosian said.
While his physical injuries are healing, Cruz says the emotional scars are still very fresh. He wants justice, not just for himself but for his family.
“I went off emotions and off of what I felt was right, and I still wouldn’t have done anything different. I would have done the same thing,” he said.
Kirakosian says the lawsuit will officially be filed in 45 days.
A Los Angeles County spokesperson says the county has no comment on pending litigation.
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