A Los Angeles-based rapper has filed a $10 million claim, alleging L.A. County deputies unjustifiably threatened to shoot him while he was sitting inside his car on New Year’s Eve.
Bodycam footage of the incident involving the rapper, Feezy Lebron (née Darral Scott), and his encounter with deputies was released in early January and went viral across social media.
The video shows a deputy pointing a gun at Lebron as he was sitting inside his car at a Gardena parking lot on Dec. 31.
According to a statement released Wednesday, Lebron said he was sitting in his car and listening to music while awaiting a friend when LASD deputies pulled up and “began to harass” him.
Lebron’s attorney says the deputies opened Lebron’s door without warning, grabbed his arm and attempted to pull him out of the car without any explanation.
“If you take off in this car, I’m going to shoot you,” says the deputy in the video. “I’m going to make it super easy on you. You put this car in drive, you’re getting one right to the chest.”
When Lebron asked for an explanation, he said a second deputy became angry and pulled out a pepper spray can saying, “I’m just going to spray you. Get out or you’re getting sprayed.”
“Without any justification, the deputy then drew his firearm and pointed it directly at Claimant at point blank range, who had his hands up and was not moving,” the statement read. “Claimant was then forced out of his car, searched, and tightly handcuffed, causing him physical injuries…He was detained in the back of a patrol vehicle for approximately 20-40 minutes while deputies searched his car without consent or lawful justification.”
Ultimately, Lebron was not arrested and was instead given a ticket for a missing license plate.
Lebron said shortly after his release, he drove to the LASD station to file a complaint about the incident. He was approached by 4-5 deputies who allegedly “retaliated against him” by “lying to him about their purported inability to take his complaint.”
Lebron alleges he waited around four hours to file his complaint while the deputy who had threatened him earlier with a gun came to “bully [him] into not filing a complaint,” the statement read.
Lebron thought he would be “killed and would never see his children again,” said the statement. “[He] has been completely traumatized by the incident and sought emergency care several days later. He continues to suffer panic attacks, is unable to sleep, and is afraid to drive.”
“I wanted to spend New Year’s Eve with my family,” said Lebron. “Instead I wound up in a life-or-death situation, my heart racing, in fear for my life, with a deputy sheriff pointing a gun at my chest and threatening to kill me. I want justice so that my son and young people today never have to feel the fear that I felt that night.”
“This is a case of police terrorism,” said one of Lebron’s attorneys. “Their behavior is an affront to the very concept of ‘protect and serve.’ They put someone in a life-threatening situation on the basis of blatant racial profiling. Imagine what it would feel like to have a gun pointed at your chest simply for asking a question. Imagine what it would feel like to keep your arms in the air for minute after minute, fearing that if you let them fall you might be shot and killed.”
The L.A. Sheriff’s Department said the incident is under investigation. The bodycam footage was released with hopes to provide transparency on the incident, officials said.
The department released a statement saying, “One deputy displayed pepper spray, then drew his firearm and used unprofessional language, which later resulted in a complaint filed by that community member. The Sheriff’s Department has opened an investigation into the deputies’ actions and language.”