LA County sheriff calls video of deputy throwing woman to the ground 'disturbing'

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Thursday, July 6, 2023
LA County sheriff calls video of deputy tackling woman 'disturbing'
L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna responded to the video and insisted that a thorough review of the confrontation will be conducted.

LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna responded Wednesday to video that shows a deputy slamming a woman to the ground, calling it "disturbing" and insisting that a thorough review of the confrontation will be conducted.

"It's disturbing. There's no ifs and buts about it," Luna said about bystander video and body camera footage that captured the incident.

The Sheriff's Department released bodycam footage this week showing the moment a deputy threw a woman to the ground outside a WinCo Foods grocery store in Lancaster on June 24.

Luna said deputies went to the store in response to a call from an employee who said two customers "were assaulting loss-prevention employees." Video shows two deputies at the scene, one of them detaining a man who Luna said matched the description of one of the suspects given by store officials.

RELATED: LASD releases bodycam video of deputy throwing woman to the ground in Lancaster

An investigation is underway after a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was caught on camera throwing a woman to the ground outside a store in Lancaster.

As that person is being detained, a second deputy approaches a woman standing nearby using her cell phone to record the deputies' actions. The deputy grabs the woman and eventually forcibly throws her to the ground then struggles to handcuff her, ultimately using pepper spray in an effort to detain her.

The identities of the sheriff's deputies involved and of the man and the woman have not been released.

Luna, who said he just learned of the violent confrontation on Friday, said he has already reached out to the area's elected officials and community leaders.

Luna said an investigation has been launched and asked any witnesses to come forward.

"This investigation is to objectively, and I do repeat objectively, determine if the force used was reasonable, if it was necessary, if it was appropriate and proportional to the level of actions that was described," Luna said Wednesday at a news conference in downtown L.A.

Community groups are demanding that the deputies be held accountable and be fired.

The woman whose video of the confrontation went viral on social media recalled witnessing the deputy throw the woman.

"I just couldn't believe my eyes. I was so upset, my phone dropped," Lisa Garrett said Wednesday alongside activists near the WinCo Foods grocery store.

After staging a rally outside of the WinCo Foods grocery store, protesters went inside the store and demanded to meet with management, but were unsuccessful. Protesters called on shoppers to boycott the store.

Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris told Eyewitness News he does not think the deputies should lose their jobs.

"I think activists are certainly in a position that they can make demands," Parris said. "They don't have to wait for all the facts, and they don't have to wait for the investigation."

Parris said he'll reserve judgment until the completion of the investigation.

Luna said the man and woman were ultimately arrested then cited and released on alleged violations including resisting an officer, attempted petty theft and interfering with a businesses. According to Luna, the woman seen being thrown to the ground was taken to a hospital and treated for pain to her eyes from the pepper spray and abrasions on her arms.

Both officers were pulled off field duty, authorities said in a statement late Monday after the bystander footage spread on social media.

City News Service contributed to this report.