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Attorney For Family Of LAPD Officer Fatally Injured In Training Exercise Disputes Chief Moore On Injuries

A woman has her right hand on the torso of a man in an LAPD uniform.
Shirley Huffman with her son Houston Tipping. Huffman has filed a claim against the city alleging the fatal injuries her son suffered occurred in a training that simulated a “mob” and that he was “repeatedly struck in the head severely enough that he bled.”
Courtesy Tipping family)
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Contradicting statements by LAPD Chief Michel Moore, the attorney representing the family of an officer fatally injured during a training exercise said Tuesday that he has evidence that the man’s injuries included a head wound.

During last week’s police commission meeting, the chief denied Tipping was beaten or struck in the head.

Bradley Gage produced an image that he said was from a CT scan of Officer Houston Tipping’s head.

“You will see in it six objects that show there were staples to the head of Officer Tipping,” he said. Gage also provided what he said was an image of an MRI that appeared to show staples.

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The images came from a video of hospital records made by Tipping’s parents, according to Gage.

The allegation of such injuries was first made in a legal claim filed by Gage on behalf of Tipping’s mother. It alleges her son was involved in an exercise that simulated a “mob” and that he was “repeatedly struck in the head severely enough that he bled.”

The Injury

Tipping, 32, died May 29, three days after suffering a spinal cord injury during a training exercise at the Police Academy in Elysian Park. Moore has said Tipping, a five-year veteran of the LAPD, was working as a bike instructor in a scenario that involved “grappling” with another officer.

Following the family's allegations in their claim, Moore took the unusual step of commenting on the case at last week's police commission meeting. The department typically does not comment on pending litigation and the claim is a precursor to a lawsuit.

“Officer Tipping did not sustain any laceration to the head, any cut or otherwise to his head, as a result of his fall to the ground when he and another officer fell to the ground,” Moore said.

“Officer Tipping was also not struck or beaten,” the chief added.

Gage said either the chief was lying or getting bad information from his subordinates. He said he does not believe that a fall explains Tipping's injuries.

“I cannot believe that these kinds of injuries were done by anything except an intentional act,” he said.

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Gage called on the District Attorney’s office to investigate Tipping’s death.

Information released online by the L.A. County Medical Examiner-Coroner lists Tipping's cause of death as a spinal cord injury. No other significant injuries are noted.

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