Video shows LASD deputy throwing trans man to ground during traffic stop over air freshener

New video shows a February incident where a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy threw a transgender man to the ground during an apparent traffic stop, again raising concerns over the department's use of force. 

Emmett Brock was driving home from his job as a teacher at a Whittier school on Feb. 10, 2023. During his drive, Brock's lawyer Thomas Beck said he saw a deputy "berating a woman of color," so he flipped the deputy off. That's when Beck said the deputy started following Brock. 

According to the LASD report, the traffic stop was initiated because the deputy saw an air freshener hanging from Brock's rearview mirror.

Either way, the incident led the two to the parking lot of a 7-Eleven. There, surveillance video captured Brock's interaction with the deputy. Beck provided video of the surveillance cameras laid over audio from the deputy's body worn camera.

It happened quickly. The deputy parked behind Brock's car, pinning the vehicle in its spot. Less than 20 seconds later, the deputy had thrown Brock to the ground. As the deputy got out of his cruiser, he's heard telling Brock, "Come here. I just stopped you."

In response, Brock said "No you didn't." That's when the deputy grabbed Brock, before slamming him to the pavement. During the tussle, Brock is heard screaming "You're going to f—-ing kill me," and yelling for help. The video also captured the deputy hitting Brock in the head several times.

"He must've punched him eight to 10 times in the head, maliciously," Beck said. "There was no reason for the contact. It was purely retaliatory."



Minutes later, Brock was in the back of the LASD cruiser, facing charges of mayhem, causing serious injury to a deputy, resisting arrest and failing to obey a lawful order. According to Beck, the mayhem charge stems from allegations from the deputy, that Brock bit his hand during the melee, which the deputy said is what necessitated the punches. 

Beck said that medical reports after the incident showed no evidence that the deputy had been bitten, and that claims that Brock bit the deputy didn't come forward until after the surveillance footage from the 7-Eleven came to light. He also said he plans to prove that the interaction came in retaliation for Brock flipping the deputy off earlier, not from the concern over the air freshener.

"This deputy is a thin-skinned thug and what he did to this man on tape proves it," Beck said.

The LASD has recently faced criticism for two other use of force incidents. In one incident, a deputy was seen on video slamming a woman to the ground outside a Lancaster WinCo in June, while deputies were allegedly investigating a robbery. In the other incident, body camera footage showed an LASD deputy rearing back and punching a mother in the face while other deputies tried to take her newborn from her arms. While that incident happened in Palmdale more than a year ago, the body camera footage was just recently released.

In both of those incidents, LA County Sheriff Robert Luna has said the involved deputies have been relieved of duty.

Beck is defending Brock against these charges, and says they're planning a civil suit as well, stemming from what Brock allegedly went through during his booking. According to Beck, Brock's identity as a transgender man came to light as he was taken into custody. That's when he said deputies asked to see his genitalia to prove it, and then put him into the women's detention cell.

In addition to demanding to see Brock's genitalia, Beck said the incident has caused Brock to lose his teaching job, and he's not worked since. Brock also suffered a concussion in the melee.

In response to a request for comment on the February incident involving Brock, the LASD said it "takes all use of force incidents seriously. The Department is investigating the information and allegations brought forward by Mr. Brock and his attorney. Unfortunately, we cannot comment any further at this time due to the pending litigation in this matter."