The Los Angeles County Democratic Party has admitted that they are “incredibly troubled” after finding out that a policeman they endorsed for Congress was involved in an assault on an unarmed black man in 2000, reports L.A. Weekly.
Last week the party threw their support behind LAPD Lt. Lou Vince in the upcoming primary, only to later learn the details of an incident that occurred over a decade and a half before.
According to a federal lawsuit that was filed in 2001, Vince and his partner pulled over Cecil Miller, 37, for making an illegal turn.
While directing Miller to pull over to the side of the road, Vince stated that the driver drove over his foot. Vince then ran to the driver’s side door and yelled at Miller to get out of the car before slamming him against it.
According to the lawsuit: “Plaintiff [Miller] told Officer Vince that the aggression really was not necessary and that if he had run over his foot, he was sorry and it was an accident. The officers then proceeded to slam plaintiff against his vehicle over and over. They then pulled him away from the vehicle and threw him to the sidewalk. As plaintiff was falling one officer held him up as the other began to punch him in the face. Plaintiff sustained serious contusions to the right side of face (sic). A pass by (sic), Crystal McGary, witnessed what was transpiring. Fearful that the officers were going to kill Plaintiff, she reached for Plaintiff’s arm over Officer Gallick screaming ‘don’t hurt him.’ Officer Vince then struck her in the face.”
The two officer then charged Miller with assaulting a police officer, however he was acquitted at trial.
Miller then sued the department — as well as Vince and Gallick — before the city agreed to pay him $150,000 to settle.
According to Vince, “People can allege anything they want to allege.”
“He tried to drive away and ran over my foot,” Vince stated “He finally got out of the car and got into it with my partner. They got into a fight. Ultimately I went to his legs, and he went down to his knees. … My partner was the one that hit him. I didn’t hit him at all.”
Vince also noted that both he and his partner were exonerated by Internal Affairs.
“There was no evidence we did anything wrong,” Vince explained. “I think people will realize that if I spent 21 years on the streets of Los Angeles and I got one guy making outlandish allegations against me, I’m probably doing well.”
Despite that, the Democratic party is taking a hard look at their endorsement of Vince.
“We must evaluate the facts to understand what occurred,” said Eric Bauman, chair of the L.A. County Democratic Party. “If accurate, the alleged actions are unacceptable for any police officer, especially one who is a Democratic candidate for Congress.”
According to Baumann the party is looking at “what the appropriate steps [there] might be for us to take.”