A Black man has filed a racial profiling lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) after he was arrested outside of his home during the cops’ search for a white suspect.
Last May, Antone Austin said he was moving his trash cans outside his Hollywood apartment when two LAPD officers quickly pulled up and ordered him to turn around. The officers were reportedly responding to a domestic violence call. The caller gave no description of the suspect and only told the dispatcher a location that the accused person was at, which was blocks away from where Austin lived. During the arrest, one of the officers even admits that he did not have a description of the suspect, but continued to handcuff Austin anyway.
“Is this the dude?” one officer asked. “Probably,” the other responded. Austin questioned the officers during the arrest. “We got a call ... OK man, I don’t know who I’m looking for yet ... Turn around man! What is your problem?” one of the LAPD cops said on the body camera footage.
Michelle Michlewicz, Austin’s girlfriend, heard the commotion from the shower and rushed outside in her robe. She was disrobed while trying to intervene as the officers pushed and restrained her. The person who called 911 tried to intervene and tell the cops that Austin was not the man she called about, but they did not stop the arrest. Both Austin and his girlfriend were taken into custody, but the charges were later dropped.
“In your mind, you want to say to yourself, ‘It happened because I’m Black,’ and then you don’t want to be that petty. You don’t want to be that small. You don’t want to really believe that people’s thinking is really [on] that low of a scale,” Austin told ABC News. “Then when you watch the footage, and you hear the guy in the car — the girl in the 911 call told him to go to a restaurant that was three blocks away from my house.”
The body cam footage from the incident has been released to the public. The lawsuit is set for a jury trial later this year in Los Angeles. “It was racial profiling,” Faisal Gill, the couple’s lawyer, said. “No question about it and to add injury to insult, they arrest my clients, put them in jail ... Even the woman who called 911 tried to tell the officers that they had the wrong person.”
Check out the body cam footage of the incident below.
Body camera footage is released of a Black man being arrested while taking out the trash. Antone Austin and his girlfriend spoke with @GMA about the two Los Angeles police officers who approached to arrest him in May 2019. @tjholmes has more. https://t.co/icK1teU45O pic.twitter.com/JgXrJyxYph— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 8, 2021