Artesia woman claims break-in investigation mishandled

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Did L.A. County Sheriff's deputies mishandle the investigation into an alleged home invasion? (KABC)

Did L.A. County Sheriff's deputies mishandle the investigation into an alleged home invasion? The homeowner is threatening to sue the sheriff's department.

An Artesia woman is planning a racial bias lawsuit against the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, over the way deputies handled a break-in.

Vivica Keyes is planning to sue the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, claiming racial bias caused it to mishandle an investigation into a break-in at her Artesia home in January. Keyes says she heard what she thought was a car crash outside her home around 3 a.m. When she got up to investigate, she saw a damaged kitchen window and blood on the floor.

"The victim in this crime is a black woman, Ms. Keyes, and the suspect in this crime is a white male, Mr. Damour," said attorney Nana Gyamfi.

Keyes says 29-year-old Jason Damour confronted her, grabbed her and tussled with her. Keyes says she ran outside her home, dialed 911 and deputies then arrested Damour.

Keyes says later that morning, the female deputy that answered the call came back to her home with Damour's parents and pleaded with her not press charges, saying they would pay for damages.

Keyes says when she found out Damour was going to be charged with misdemeanor vandalism and trespassing, she filed a complaint with the sheriff's department.

She also claims the D.A.'s office was never given her version of what happened that night.

Keyes eventually got a letter from Interim Sheriff John Scott, saying his staff investigated the matter and determined the allegation was founded. According to the sheriff's department this is not an admission that mistakes were made by the female deputy.

"It was determined that she could do things differently, and administrative action was taken. The sheriff has initiated a formal investigation due to the alleged claims of Ms. Keyes," said Nicole Nishida, a spokesperson for the sheriff's department.

Keyes says a restitution hearing on Friday will determine if she'll file suit in federal or civil court.

Related Topics:
lawsuitlos angeles county sheriff's departmentArtesia
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