Los Angeles County sheriff defends department's use of force seen in Inglewood video

Amy Powell Image
Thursday, October 20, 2022
LA County sheriff defends department's use of force seen in new video
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is defending the department's use of force against a man in Inglewood that was captured on cellphone video.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department finds itself embroiled in another controversy over the use of force, after new video shows deputies violently wrestle a man to the ground in Inglewood.

Activists claim the deputies did not need to be so aggressive in gaining control of the man and they say he was working as a security guard at the time. The Sheriff's Department disputes that account, describing the man as an armed felon who was struggling against officers.

The incident happened Sunday outside a hookah lounge in Inglewood. The man in the video has been identified as Blake Anderson.

Cellphone video shows one of the deputies grab the head of the 24-year-old man and slam it into the concrete. The deputies are also seen punching him and pointing a gun at his head.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva spoke out about the video Wednesday in the face of comments on social media criticizing the department.

"He is a convicted felon," Villanueva said. "He was armed and there was a struggle and the use of force is being properly investigated as a category 3 use of force."

A mugshot released of Anderson shows injuries to his lip and eye. The department also released an image of a firearm that it says Anderson was carrying.

Family members say Anderson had recently undergone eye surgery and was recovering when the incident happened. They say damage to his eye is so extensive it will have to be replaced with a prosthetic.

Villanueva says activists are unfairly attacking the deputies and mischaracterizing the incident. He says Anderson had been the victim of an assault just a month earlier and some of his injuries were from that incident.

"They tried to sell the idea that somehow we blinded him and he was working. No, none of the above. That is how activists use social media to try to gain traction and just foment division and mistrust of law enforcement."

Anderson was arrested for charges that included felon in possession of firearm and ammunition, possession of loaded concealed weapon, assault on peace officer with a firearm.

A GoFundMe page was launched to help Anderson with legal and medical expenses.