Cleo Battle was awakened by a 3 am phone call at her home in Florida. She says a hospital employee was calling to tell her her brother, Sam Arrington, had been beaten by the LAPD in a forceful confrontation in Venice, and that ''it wasn't right."
That began quite a journey that landed him in the hospital, charged with resisting arrest, and her coming to Los Angeles to try to help get him housing and help and also participate in what's expected to be a news conference on Tuesday announcing a Federal lawsuit filed against the LAPD and the City of Los Angeles on behalf of her 52-year-old younger brother.
"He was not resisting arrest... he did not accept the ticket... does that give them someone the right to escalate the situation to where he's tased multiple times.. onlookers saying stop.. he's not doing anything to anyone."
Police won't comment because of the pending litigation and investigations, as is their custom. The video of this, captured of course by a bystander's cell phone video, is quite graphic. Police reports, which I have not personally seen but which were referenced in earlier coverage of this, indicate the police claim he was resisting and maybe even reached towards an officers weapon.
Chief Beck, in an earlier statement did say ''If we find there was excessive force, we will take appropriate action..' Note that the claim the suspect reached for a holstered weapon was the same claim made when police shot and killed an unarmed homeless man known as Charley Africa on skid row, and of course, in Venice, near where the incident with Arrington happened, a homeless man, Brendon Glenn was also shot and killed by the LAPD.
Clearly there's a challenge in dealing with homeless mentally ill people, but Cleo Battle says her brother was just talking to God and praying out loud and wasn't violent and wasn't bothering anyone. The family's attorney, Nazareth Haysbert, says the LAPD should've called in specially trained teams to deal with the mentally ill, especially since they knew Arrington from preview encounters, one of which, he says , put him in the hospital for months. "" What you see in this case if officers who escalated a confrontation beyond the point it should have been . There's a pattern and practice of police brutality towards Sam. ''If it comes to it, we'll see if a jury agrees."