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Skateboarder: 'I thought I was going to die' during confrontation with LAPD

August 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A college student who is accusing the Los Angeles Police Department of excessive force against him provided more details Tuesday of the incident caught on tape.

Fighting back tears and with his attorney at his side in front of his Venice home, Ronald Weekley Jr., 20, tried to describe the events that led up to the violent encounter with LAPD officers.

Weekley was arrested on Saturday. Officers said he resisted arrest when they tried to stop him for riding his skateboard against traffic.

A passerby shot video of the arrest, which shows one of the officers punching Weekley in the face. Weekley said he was punched twice before the camera started rolling.

"I started screaming and yelling because I thought I was going to die," Weekley said. "I blacked out. I was choking on blood, throwing up blood, my nose was bleeding, my right eye was shut."

At the news conference, Weekley's lawyer, Benjamin Crump, and relatives demanded that the officers be disciplined for what they said was a racially motivated arrest.

"Why did they confront and assault this college student? Was it because he was skating on the wrong side of the road? Or was it because he was the wrong color?" said Crump, a Florida lawyer who also represents the family of Treyvon Martin, a teenager who was shot dead by a neighborhood watch captain.

The officers involved have not been identified, but the LAPD said an investigation has been launched. A spokesman for the department said that the footage doesn't tell the whole story.

"At some point during that detention, a use of force ensued and our officers ended up taking Mr. Weekley to the ground," LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. "At that point, video tape captured what was the last part of a use of force involving our officers."

Crump said Weekley had three misdemeanor warrants for infractions, like driving without a license and a curfew violation. But he said officers wouldn't have known that at the time of the arrest.

Crump said he plans to take legal action in the days ahead for what he said is a culture of abuse.

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