Palmdale woman sues LASD after deputy punches her in face while she holds her baby

Sid Garcia Image
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Palmdale woman sues LASD after being punched by deputy
Body camera footage shows a deputy punching a Palmdale woman in the face as she carried her baby in her arms.

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- In body camera video released by the LA County Sheriff's Department, Palmdale resident Yeayo Russell can be seen holding her infant son. As deputies try to take the child from her, one deputy punches Russell twice in the face.

Russell was a passenger in a car deputies had pulled over for driving with the headlights off.

The driver was cited for driving under the influence.

Russell's child was not in a car seat. She ended up spending four days in jail.

The incident occurred a year ago, but the video only came to light earlier this month.

And now, Russell is filing a federal lawsuit against the sheriff's department.

In her federal lawsuit, she's asking to be compensated for what her lawyers say was excessive use of force.

Attorney Jamon Hicks expressed frustration about the incident: "It's unfortunate that it took a year for this video to even come out. This is something that the public should have seen right away. And the fact that it took a year, and again credit Sheriff Luna for exposing it, shows the mentality of the county sheriffs in that area."

L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna was not with the department when this happened. But when the video was released, he expressed his disapproval: "I found the punching of the woman in these circumstances completely unacceptable."

The deputy has been pulled from field duty.

Attorney Carl Douglas says, "I can count on one hand the number of times I've ever encountered a law enforcement officer who admits to striking a woman in the face."

The Sheriff's Department has asked the district attorney's office to investigate. The FBI is also looking into the incident.