Activists and residents gather at “Unity Against Police Brutality” protest and news conference for sheriff accountability on July 5. Photo: Ansar Muhammad

Two separate incidents show deputies roughing up Black women 

LOS ANGELES—Twosheriff’s deputies have been relieved from field duty in the aftermath of a disturbing incident in which they detained an elderly Black couple accused of shoplifting from a Winco grocery store located in the Los Angeles County city of Lancaster.   

The woman was recording her husband’s excessive force encounter before another deputy charged her way.  “Uh, uh! You can’t touch me,” she exclaimed. But body-cam footage shows the deputy slamming her to the ground, twisting her arms, putting his knee on her neck, and spraying her with mace. She cried as she just had eye surgery and asked for her special glasses, to which the deputy responded with an expletive.

“In the midst of all of it, I was just so blown away that he slammed her on the ground, I dropped the phone,” said Lisa Garrett, whorecorded the incident from the passenger seat of her car. She managed to get it from the back seat and continued filming, she told The Final Call in a phone interview.  


“He didn’t care who was watching, broad daylight, there were a whole bunch of people out there. He couldn’t care less, like he was making an example of her,” she said.

An internal affairs investigation is underway, but because the Antelope Valley—where Lancaster is located—is under a federal consent decree, federal monitors, the Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission, and Los Angeles County Officer of Inspector General will also be involved, said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, during a news conference on July 5.

According to a 2015 Settlement Agreement, in August 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, launched an investigation of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) in response to complaints and allegations of violations of the Fair Housing Act in the Antelope Valley of Southern California. Upon completion of their investigation in June 2013, the DOJ issued their findings that the LASD’s Lancaster and Palmdale Stations had engaged in a pattern and practice of conducting stops, searches, and seizures that were unreasonable and in violation of the Constitution and federal law.

No criminal charges had been filed against the husband and wife at press time and it is unknown if they have retained a lawyer or filed a civil lawsuit due to their traumatic experience on June 24, 2023. 

“It’s disturbing. There’s no ifs and buts about it,” said Sheriff Luna, whorefused to name the deputies involved or the couple.  

The incident has sparked outrage within the Antelope Valley community and across the country. “They have moved beyond fabricating reports, lying to the public, cameras not on, to demonstrating the most egregious crimes in broad daylight while being recorded,” said one outraged Black man who spoke during the “Unity Against Police Brutality” protest and news conference for sheriff accountability on July 5. 

Pastor V. Jesse Smith of The Way Center of Truth in Palmdale told The Final Call he is glad the deputy who used excessive force against the elderly woman is off the streets but displeased that he is still on the payroll.

“Looking at that video, there was no way in the world you could say this guy was justified, even believe he was justified, in the way he beat this sister. … It was so bestial in nature, as if she was a runaway slave and how dare she defy the mas’sa,” argued Pastor Smith.  

The people of Lancaster are frustrated and disappointed, but it is important to move from protesting to organizing, said Ansar Muhammad, an activist and student coordinator of the Nation of Islam Study Group in Lancaster.

“Through our organizing efforts, which the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, operational unity will be the key to solving and changing the tide. We have to come together, without the egos and entities, but just as Black people, if we’re going to effect change at all,” Mr. Muhammad said.

On July 12,Sheriff Luna announced that two other L.A. County deputies in the nearby Palmdale Station have been relieved of duty after video of a July 14, 2022, arrest showed one of them punching the mother of a three-week-old infant, on allegations of felony child endangerment.  She was being arrested, because the infant was not in a car seat, and the Black woman was punched twice in the face for refusing to let go of her baby.

Back in early 1990s, Lancaster was known as “Klancaster,” the headquarters for the Nazi Lowriders, which is an offshoot from the Aryan Brotherhood, a White supremacist group, Mr. Muhammad stated during the community news conference.  “It is my belief that that attitude is still present. It is my belief that that attitude is in law enforcement,” he added.