In a distressing incident recorded in Palmdale, Los Angeles, in July 2022, a deputy from the LA sheriff’s department was seen landing two blows on a distraught mother’s face as she begged the officers not to seize her three-week-old child. The video, captured on a body camera, reveals up to five police officers surrounding the woman as she refuses to hand over her baby boy.
The woman’s desperate plea in the video shows, ‘You’re all gonna have to shoot me dead before you take my baby.’ The situation escalates to a physical altercation, with the mother shrieking, ‘Don’t take my baby! My baby’s very weak. You’ll hurt him!’ At this point, a male deputy appears at the edge of the frame, throwing two punches toward her head.
Sheriff Robert Luna disapproved of the incident, labeling the deputy’s actions ‘completely unacceptable.’ He has since forwarded the case to the county district attorney’s office and has notified the FBI. The name of the offending deputy has not been disclosed, but he has been removed from field duty, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
In July 2022, a traffic stop occurred, and deputies pulled over a car operating without headlights in the dark. The smell of alcohol led to further investigation, revealing three babies, none in car seats, being cradled by their mother.
Luna revealed that the male driver was arrested under the suspicion of child endangerment, driving while under the influence of alcohol, and driving with a suspended driver’s license.
Four women present in the vehicle were detained under suspicion of child endangerment. Amidst the arrests, a woman who resisted handing over her child was struck in the face twice by a deputy, Luna confirmed.
Luna stated that punching is an isolated incident perpetrated by an individual who will be duly held accountable. He praised the rest of his staff, remarking that the majority are performing ‘exceptional work in service to 10 million residents.’
Federal inspectors persist in monitoring the reforms the department consented to implement at the Lancaster and Palmdale stations, which are among the most active in the county.
In 2015, the Sheriff’s Department resolved federal accusations claiming that deputies from these stations had been involved in excessive force and racial profiling. This profiling included disproportionately stopping or searching Black and Latino individuals.