Two women who are suing the LAPD after police threatened them with guns and threw them to the ground
Two California women are suing the LAPD in federal court for a harrowing confrontation with police, saying at least 10 officers pulled guns on them and pushed them to the ground after mistaking their U-Haul truck for a stolen one vehicle.
The incident took place in February 2020, but Shibani Balsaver and Sheilanee ‘Shona’ Sen filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Central California in March this year.
The 29-page complaint, obtained by DailyMail.com Tuesday, accuses the city of Los Angeles and 14 individual law enforcement officers of excessive force; unreasonable search and seizure; do not intervene; attack; battery by a peace agency; negligence and deliberate inflicting emotional distress.
A traffic stop videotaped in Los Angeles in February 2020 is not the subject of a federal lawsuit filed against the LAPD in March
“I thought I was going to be shot,” Balsaver said CBS Los Angeles this week. “I really thought that was the end.”
Balsaver, who works as a film producer in Los Angeles, published a detailed account of her violent encounter with the police medium.com a week after the incident.
Balsaver said Sen was helping her move into her new apartment on February 8, 2020 when the 3-meter U-Haul truck she had rented was stopped by police in front of her new home in the Los Feliz neighborhood.
As Balsaver describes in her essay, she and Sen were confused because they didn’t think they had broken traffic laws.
“I look in the side mirror, our only way to keep up to date,” she writes. “I see two other police cars have stopped. I’m telling Shona for business that this is serious. We are very confused. ‘
Moments later, more police vehicles arrived on the scene, and soon Balsaver and her friend were surrounded by no fewer than 10 officers with their weapons drawn and pointed at them, including one she called “ Mr Authority, ” which she says was holding. . a huge gun.
Police thought this U-Haul truck was reported stolen, even though the rental company said it was found
Shibani Balsaver, an LA film producer, walks her hands in the direction of the police. She wrote in an essay that she feared the police would shoot her
Balsaver and her boyfriend were told to lie face down on the floor before being handcuffed
“This is a gun that only needs a long strap to hold it,” she writes. “This is a gun that shouldn’t be for anyone, especially Shona and me.”
Both women were then ordered to get out of the truck with their hands up and walk to the middle of the street while a police helicopter raged above them.
“I expect a bullet to go into my body, probably to my shoulder. I’m not sure I’ll die, ”Balsaver recalled at the time when he thought. “I’m sure my body will go into shock from numbing the force of the bullet. It will not hurt. ‘
As video recorded by a bystander shows, Balsaver and Sen were forced to kneel and then lie face down on the floor in full view of Balsaver’s new neighbors, one of whom picked up her cellphone and started with recording.
“I am grateful that this will not go unnoticed, but I can only think that I am dying only in front of the camera,” writes Balsaver.
After a few minutes spaced out in the middle of the street, the two friends were approached by the officers.
Balsaver said she was only released after telling police she had a receipt from U-Haul in her bag
‘I feel a knee push hard in my back. Another is forcing my head down, ”says Balsaver. They take my right hand, twist my arm behind me, and put a cuff around my hand. I lift my left hand and they do the same. I wiggle my body to try to get up. They ripped me off the rest of the way. I turn to see three large cannons aimed in my face. ‘
Balsaver said it was only after she was handcuffed and pushed into an SUV that one of the officers told them they were being held because police thought the U-Haul had been reported stolen.
Balsaver, still standing with her hands under control, shouted that her truck rental receipt was in her purse on the front seat of the vehicle.
After getting the receipt and running Balsaver’s name through the system to make sure there were no outstanding warrants against her, she and her boyfriend were released without charge.
The woman said responding agents who had pointed their guns at her just minutes ago now seemed “exhausted” and joked that she should demand a year of free service from U-Haul.
Balsaver said a sergeant later explained to her that U-Haul had reported the stolen vehicle as recovered weeks earlier, but that the police officer has not been trained to recognize the code that indicates a stolen vehicle has been recovered in their new system, which instead since October 2019.
According to the lawsuit, no one at the LAPD has ever apologized to Balsaver and Sen for the traffic stop.
The complaint alleges that the LAPD violated the law by executing a “ high risk ” traffic stop, which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal previously limited to “ special circumstances ” in which a suspect is uncooperative and in danger, or in a situation where the police have information that the suspect is armed.
The City of Los Angeles attorneys and attorneys representing the police officers filed a response to Balsaver and Sen’s complaint last month, denying all allegations against them and asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit.
Balsaver and Sen are seeking unspecified damages and attorney’s fees. A hearing in the case is scheduled for May 14.