The California Democratic Party is under fire for endorsing former LAPD officer and congressional candidate Lou Vince, who was once sued for allegedly assaulting a black man following a traffic stop in 2000.
Vince is challenging incumbent Republican Steve Knight in the 25th congressional district.
According to the UK Guardian, a complaint filed against Vince in 2001 alleged that he stopped Cecil Miller for making an illegal turn. Cecil was in the car with his pregnant wife and three young children at the time. Vince reportedly accused Miller of running over his foot, alleging he had attempted to drive away from the scene.
The Guardian notes that Vince then pulled Miller from the car and “proceeded to slam plaintiff against his vehicle over and over” before throwing him to the sidewalk. Miller reportedly suffered “serious contusions” to the right side of his face.
An excerpt from the lawsuit, published at Raw Story, indicates that a Crystal McGary witnessed what was transpiring — and, worried that Miller could be killed, reached over Vince’s partner’s arm and screamed “don’t hurt him.” The lawsuit alleges that Officer Vince then struck her in the face.
Miller was acquitted after being accused of assaulting an officer. He then filed a lawsuit and won $150,000 in damages, the Guardian notes.
The Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP) issued a press release on their own page following news of Vince’s endorsement by the state party. LACDP Chair and California Democratic Party Vice Chair Eric Bauman said he is “incredibly troubled by these allegations,” and said that if the information is “accurate, the alleged actions are unacceptable for any police officer, especially one who is a Democratic candidate for Congress.”
Darren W. Parker, the chair of the California Democratic Party African American Caucus, said “[o]ur community is rife with justified anger and frustration over aggressive and often unlawful actions by police officers against African Americans, as evidenced by the ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice. I will work with both California Democratic Party and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party leadership to demand that we make an appropriate response.”
The most terse response came from California Legislative Black Caucus Chair Isadore Hall, III who said “it is just this type of activity that has lead to the Black Lives Matter movement spreading across our nation. I will join with my colleagues at the California Democratic Party and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party to demand a righteous and appropriate response.”
Vince defended his actions from 10-plus years ago, telling LA Weekly in an interview, “There was no evidence we did anything wrong. I think people will realize that if I spent 21 years on the streets of Los Angeles and I got one guy making outlandish allegations against me, I’m probably doing well.” He said he and his partner, Doug Gallick, were exonerated after investigations.
This 2014 video on YouTube shows Vince, then a candidate for L.A. County Sheriff, answering questions about how law enforcement handles issues of mental health:
Vince placed seventh out of seven candidates in the 2014 primary, winning only 5.4 percent of the vote
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.