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African-American Superior Court Judge Files Complaint Against UCLA Police

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham III

After a series of instances of racial discrimination including retailers profiling African-American customers and police misconduct, the latest incident involves a complaint against the University of California, Los Angeles police.

A prominent African-American judge has filed a complaint against the university police, alleging that they used excessive force when they stopped him for not wearing a seat belt.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham III, said officers handcuffed him, shoved him against his car and locked him in the back of their squad car, telling him he was resisting arrest.

The 60-year-old, who is a former Los Angeles Police Commission president, said he was leaving L.A. Fitness  when the officers pulled him over in his Mercedes. According to the complaint he filed, Cunningham said he was in the process of fastening his seat belt when he was stopped, and when he asked why he had been pulled over, the officer informed him it was because Cunningham began buckling his seat belt when he saw the authorities.

Cunningham said he showed the officer his drivers license, and when he reached into his glove compartment for his registration and insurance documents, the officer “yelled at me not to move.” When he was unable to find the documents, he told officers he thought they may be in the trunk.

“When I go [sic] out of the car to search my trunk, Officer Dodd shoved me against my car, told me I was under arrest for resisting and locked me in the back seat,” Cunningham wrote in the complaint, which was first reported by NBC News. Cunningham’s lawyer, Carl Douglas, said the judge began to fear for his safety and called for help.

“He lost his cool,” Douglas said. “He began yelling about police brutality and about being a 60-year-old man slapped in handcuffs in the back of a patrol car for not wearing a seat belt. A crowd was gathering and he demanded they call a watch commander.”

After 10 minutes, a UCLA police sergeant arrived at the scene and Cunningham was released. UCLA police provided limited information about the incident, reporting Cunningham was stopped at 10:05 a.m., “temporarily handcuffed during the course of a traffic stop,” was cited with failing to wear a seat belt and released.

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