LOS ANGELES—In a determined pursuit of justice and calling for an end to systemic police violence, victims of two alleged police brutality incidents in Antelope Valley have recently taken significant legal steps against deputies and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The incidents occurred in Lancaster and Palmdale, shaking local and national communities.
Attorneys for Yeayo Russell filed a federal excessive force lawsuit stemming from a traffic stop in Palmdale. A deputy reportedly violently struck her in the face multiple times as she held her newborn son, Dinero, in her arms. According to the complaint, they were passengers in a car, and she was breastfeeding her baby, when police pulled it over on July 14, 2022, according to the complaint.
“She’s obviously very, very scared, very, very stressed. … This happened a year ago. She’s had to deal with it privately during that entire time, and now it’s public, so she has to relive it again,” Attorney Jamon Hicks of Douglas/Hicks Law told The Final Call.
According to the complaint, Ms. Russell has suffered physical injuries requiring medical treatment, including but not limited to, bruising hematomas (solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues), contusions, numbness, stiffness, swelling, skin discoloration, disorientation, headaches, and pain and discomfort, and emotional trauma from separation from her newborn child.
The suit alleges that L.A. County has had a practice and a custom of using excessive force against the Antelope Valley residents, and specifically, the use of force against Black women, said Atty. Hicks, during a news conference at their office on July 24, when the lawsuit was filed. Further, they have failed to train deputies on how to retrieve a child, if necessary, without using force against that mother, he said.
“This case is about more than just punches,” said Atty. Hicks. For example, the young mother was in jail for four days, with no idea of where her child was or if he was okay, he said.
Meanwhile, a short distance away in Lancaster, Jacey Houseton spoke out during a recent news conference with her attorney, Caree Harper, outside WinCo grocery store, where on June 24, a deputy slammed the elderly Black woman to the ground on shoplifting allegations.
“He tried to kill me. And for what? Because I was taking a picture or taking a video of possibly some misconduct on an African American male,” she stated, in a video posted online by KCAL/CBS News. Ms. Houseton said she suffered a fractured arm and a black eye, according to news outlets.
Atty. Harper, who is also representing Damon Barnes, who was already detained by a deputy on the same accusations, announced a lawsuit on July 31 against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, according to a FOX 11 report. Atty. Harper also called on Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón to prosecute LA sheriff’s deputy Trevor Kirk for the felony battery of Houseton, continued the news report. “Where on earth is it acceptable to punch a woman in the face? Folks punching women in the face should be criminal and [they should be] arrested on the spot,” Atty. Harper said.
Both deputies in the Lancaster incident were relieved of field duty, pending further investigation.
Police body camera footage of both incidents went viral, renewing debates about the urgent need for comprehensive police reform.
However, they are undeniably stark examples of why the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, teaches that separation is the best and only solution between Blacks and Whites. Even in cases of police misconduct when the offending officers are Black and Latino, the mindset and actions of White supremacy is ever-present.
The White race’s “mask of civility” is being peeled back, like layers of an onion, warns the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, National Representative of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his chief student and helper.
“As Caucasians begin to feel threatened and their security is compromised, the mask of civility comes off—and then you see murder coming out of their hearts and their eyes,” stated Minister Farrakhan in Part 27 of his 2013 lecture series, “The Time and What Must be Done.”