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LACo to Pay $4.75M to Settle Lawsuit Alleging Excessive Force

The lawsuit was filed in June 2021, alleging that deputies needlessly beat the plaintiff in May 2020 during a traffic stop.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed Sept. 12 to pay $4.75 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by a man who said he was severely beaten by a half-dozen sheriff's deputies following a traffic stop in Inglewood.

The lawsuit was filed in June 2021, alleging that deputies needlessly beat Christopher Bailey in May 2020 after pulling him over for a traffic violation. His attorney, Toni Jaramilla, said during a news conference that Bailey was struck in the face 35 to 44 times, leaving him unable to see out of his left eye. She also said his teeth were knocked out and he suffered bone fractures in his face.

She said Bailey was also shot with a Taser near his groin. She called it a "gang-like beat down of an unarmed Black citizen."

Jaramilla said deputies claimed that Bailey was resisting arrest, but she insisted that he obeyed all of the deputies' orders during the traffic stop. She said Bailey was initially charged with resisting arrest, but the case was later dismissed.

Bailey, now 40, told reporters in 2021 he didn't think he was going to survive the encounter.

"I was screaming out I wanted to live," he said when the suit was announced. "I really feared for my life. I thought I was going to die."

The lawsuit alleges that deputies needlessly pulled Bailey from his car during the May 4, 2020, traffic stop and began assaulting him. According to his attorneys, Bailey was on his way home from work at a mail-sorting company when the traffic stop occurred.

A notice of a pending settlement of the lawsuit was filed in federal court in Los Angeles almost a year ago. The county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the settlement Tuesday without comment.

In a statement to City News Service, Jaramilla said Thursday she is "so pleased that Mr. Bailey will receive some measure of justice in this case which will help him financially with his physical and emotional recovery."

"The trauma he suffered are long lasting," she said. "However, full justice in this case will be the immediate termination and criminal prosecution of each and every Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy involved who, as we alleged, beat, Tasered and tortured Mr. Bailey so badly that he was heard pleading for his life."

— By City News Service

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