In another alarming episode of law enforcement brutality, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy was caught on camera punching a mother who was holding her infant during a traffic stop in Palmdale, a suburb northeast of Los Angeles, in July 2022. Sheriff Robert Luna has condemned the incident as “completely unacceptable,” and the deputy involved, whose name has yet to be released, has been taken off field duty and disciplined—allegedly.
The shocking body cam footage reveals a tense scene, with five officers surrounding the woman as she refuses to hand over her child, saying, “You’re all gonna have to shoot me dead before you take my baby.”
Unforgivably, one male deputy responds to her desperation by throwing two punches at her head. Eventually, the officers took the baby and put the woman in handcuffs.
According to the department, the incident began as a traffic stop when officers saw four females and three infants in a vehicle, none of whom were in car seats. The male driver was arrested for DUI and driving with a suspended license. The women, including the mother who was punched, were not charged—although they were initially held on suspicion of child endangerment for not having the children in car seats.
Unironically, the officer “protected” the baby from her mother’s lack of a car seat by punching the mother, which could’ve caused her to drop the infant.
“I still believe this is an isolated incident that was committed by an individual that will be held accountable, make no mistake about that,” Luna said Wednesday.
While Luna believes this incident is isolated, history and evidence suggest otherwise. This horrifying incident isn’t an anomaly, but rather part of a chilling pattern of police aggression towards individuals holding children or babies.
In 2018, The Free Thought Project reported a similar case where Inkster, Mich. officers tasered a father as he held his 9-month-old baby. In another incident, a police officer in Broward County, Florida, attacked and choked an innocent father as he held his baby in 2019. As recently as 2021, we covered the heart-breaking story in Houston, Texas, in which a baby was killed as officers opened fire on the mother and father.
The Department has pledged reform following numerous allegations of excessive use of force and racially biased policing. These reforms were spurred by a settled federal lawsuit accusing deputies of disproportionately stopping or searching Black and Latino individuals. However, the question remains whether these reforms will address the deeply ingrained culture of violence within the force.
Despite these repeated incidents, there remains a blatant lack of comprehensive, nationwide statistics on police violence against civilians, making it difficult to gauge the full scope of this issue. Until the true extent of this problem is acknowledged and addressed, these disturbing incidents will likely continue to occur.
Below is the disturbing footage.
This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.