Recently released video contradicts the official account given by a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (“LASD”) about the 2007 pepper-spraying and arrest of 73-year-old veteran Raymond Davison.
In the initial police report concerning the incident in question, LASD Deputy Christian Chamness claimed that he had to pepper-spray Davison because the elderly man had blocked the path of multiple deputies and then came after Chamness himself. In that now demonstrably-and-adjudicated false report, Chamness wrote:
I asked him several times (more than 5) to step away from me and allow me to exit freely. He began to advance on me and due to the increasing number of people who were becoming both verbally and physically aggressive, I retrieved my canister of O.C. spray and ordered him once more to step aside. He refused so I sprayed him with a 3-4 second burst.
In the video, however, Davison is not blocking anyone’s path. Rather, everyone involved is already outside the barbershop.
Davison can be seen arguing with the deputies when, suddenly and without warning, Chamness pulls out his pepper spray and sprays Davison three times in the face as another deputy constrains the man.
The video was eventually released after a federal lawsuit alleging false arrest and battery brought by Davison–and others arrested that day–was settled by the LASD for $195,000. Davison was arrested for “resisting or delaying a peace officer,” but those charges were later dropped.
Adam Marangell, Chamness’ attorney, said in comments to the Los Angeles Times, “We dispute any accusation that Deputy Chamness intentionally misrepresented any of the events that day.”
Chamness was suspended 25 days for filing the false report and for his use of unreasonable force. No stranger to controversy, Chamness’ name is also on a “secret list” of LASD deputies with histories of misconduct. The list contains hundreds of names.
[image via surveillance footage screengrab; video courtesy of LiveLeak]