DA’S INVESTIGATOR FILES CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUIT
Maurice Lallemand is a retired member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who now works as a senior investigator for the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation. On Tuesday of this week, Lallemand, and his attorney Olu K. Orange filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the inspector was assaulted and wrongly detained by a group of deputies who knew perfectly well that he too was law enforcement. The lawsuit also alleges that, when Lallemand attempted to file an official complaint at a local sheriff’s station about the deputies’ behavior, one or more of those named in the complaint helped prevent its filing.
Here’s the story according to Lallemand’s federal filing.
COPS DETAINING COPS?
On May 13 of 2016, at around 6:15 in the evening, Maurice Lallemand attempted to serve a subpoena to a robbery victim he believed lived at 15533 Eucalyptus avenue in Bellflower.
Although Lallemand had retired after a career in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, his work for the LA District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation is a sworn position. In other words, he is still law enforcement. He carries a badge, a gun, and drives a county-issued Crown Victoria which has government plates, and a fully outfitted law enforcement interior. Lallemand parked the Crown Vic across the street from the residence in question, and used the car’s radio to call in his location to his bureau’s headquarters.
(Interestingly, the investigator’s bureau of which Lallemand is a member shares their radio frequency with the LASD.)
After radioing in, Mr. Lallemand reportedly got out of his car and attempted finish his job serving the subpoena on the quiet stretch of Eucalyptus Avenue, when some LA County sheriff’s deputies rolled up on the location. The deputies had reportedly been dispatched after a neighbor called to complain about a strange guy “wearing civilian clothing” who was “knocking on doors saying he was a police officer,” according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
According to the federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Mr. Lallemand was wearing his investigator’s ID on a lanyard around his neck, his cop’s sidearm was visible, as was his investigator’s badge, which was right next to the gun on his belt. Plus he was driving the conspicuously county-issued Crown Vic.
In his civil complaint, Lallemand stated that he identified himself to the deputies, explained that he was at the location to serve a subpoena but, according to the complaint, the deputies continued to detain and hassle him.
“You guys are are incompetent and inexperienced at what the hell you are doing,” Lallemand reported that he told the deputies, at some point during the incident. “Is the sergeant on the way?” And, “Oh, yeah I am going to write paper on this!” and other words to that effect. (Writing paper being filing a complaint.)
It was after his remarks that things reportedly took a turn for the physical. According to the civil rights complaint, deputies proceeded to assault, batter, push and threaten Lallemand, then put him in a painful “compliance hold.” Finally the deputies put him in the back of a patrol car with another suspect who was also being detained but who was, according to Lallemand, a drug addict who appeared to be having a bad drug reaction of some kind or another.
Eventually an LASD sergeant was called to the scene, then reportedly a field supervisor. Finally Lallemand was released.
Two months later, on July 14, the investigator made good on his promise to “write paper” and, together with “a colleague from his department” went to the Lakewood sheriff’s station with the intent to file a complaint against the deputies and supervisors involved in “violating his civil rights.” Lallemand brought with him his own typewritten statement, that he planned to attach to the regular LASD complaint form.
Yet, when he told the desk sergeant of his wish to file a personnel complaint, according to Lallemand’s lawsuit, the sergeant exited the desk and returned with the supervisor who was allegedly part of the incident that was the basis of the complaint. The supervisor reportedly exclaimed unhappily then conferred again with the sergeant who, according to Lallemand’s legal filing, refused to accept either the investigator’s written account or allow him to file a complaint at all.
“A MAJOR & DIRECT VIOLATION…”
Being a former department member, Lallemand escalated and reportedly contacted Internal Affairs directly to file the complaint.
Department spokesperson, Nicole Nishida said in a statement that, four days after the incident occurred, “the Sheriff’s Department arranged a conflict resolution meeting between the parties and their respective supervisors…”
According to another source, Mr. Lallemand was not at all satisfied with idea of the “conflict resolution.” Rather he wanted his complaint to be properly investigated.
When asked about these issues, Nishida sent along the department’s answer: “There are multiple aspects to any incident. Subsequently, a thorough inquiry was conducted into the plaintiff’s allegations.”
She could not be more specific than that, Nishida said.
A former department supervisor, now retired, who is veteran of the LASD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, called the account “a very interesting claim, almost unbelievable.” In particular, he said, “refusing to accept a complaint at Lakewood Station is a direct and major violation of department policy.”
More as we know it.