Prominent Black Judge Says He Was Roughed Up By UCLA Police
A Los Angeles superior court judge, who just happens to be black, has filed a complaint against the UCLA Police Department for excessive force after he was roughed up during a routine traffic stop.
David S. Cunningham III, 60, was leaving an L.A. Fitness in Westwood on Saturday morning and was not wearing a seatbelt when he was pulled over by campus police, according to the L.A. Times. When Cunningham reached into his glove box for his vehicle registration, Officer Kevin Dodd told him "not to move," and when a bottle of prescription pills Cunningham uses for his heart fell out of his vehicle, the officer accused him of being a drug dealer, NBC4 reports.
Then, after telling Officer Dodd he needed to step outside of the car to look for the proof of insurance and registration the officer demanded, Cunningham claims he was "pushed up against a patrol car, handcuffed, and told he was under arrest," according to NBC4.
Cunningham's lawyer, Albert Douglas, claimed that Cunningham has not filed a racial discrimination suit against campus police, but did acknowledge the possibility of race being a factor in the incident.
"He lost his cool," Douglas told the L.A. Times. "He began yelling about police brutality and about being a 60-year-old man slapped in handcuffs in the back of a patrol car for not wearing a seat belt. A crowd was gathering and he demanded they call a watch commander."
A police sergeant, who was also black, was called to the scene and, after arriving ten minutes later, ordered Cunningham to be released.
The police department issued a response acknowledging that Cunningham was pulled over and handcuffed, but had no further comment regarding the incident.
Cunningham is a prominent voice in L.A. judicial circles and, according to the L.A. Times, was also the former president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, a civilian-led group that oversees the LAPD.