Black Judge Who Was Handcuffed During a Seatbelt Stop Sues UCLA PoliceS

A Los Angeles County judge and former police commission president who was handcuffed, locked in a UCLA police cruiser, and detained for resisting arrest this weekend has turned around and sued the UCLA police force for using excessive force.

The judge — who is black — has also had his attorney make statements indicating that the force was racially motivated.

Judge David S. Cunningham III, a former LA Police Commission president, said he was pulled over in his Mercedes as he left his gym on Saturday.

According to Cunningham, the police told him he was stopped because he began buckling his seatbelt when he saw their cruiser.

When Cunningham reached for his glove box to retrieve [his registration and license], an officer "yelled at me not to move," he said in the complaint. "I became irritated and told him that I need to look for the paper."

A prescription pill bottle rolled out of the glove compartment, prompting the officer to ask if he was carrying drugs. Douglas said the medicine was for high blood pressure.

Cunningham couldn't find his registration and insurance paperwork in the glove compartment and told officers he thought it was in the trunk.

"When I go 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.

Douglas said the judge was tossed into the back of the police cruiser's back seat with such force that his feet flew up in the air. The second officer, identified as James Kim, accused him of "kicking."

Carl Douglas, Cunningham's attorney, said that at that point Douglas lost his cool "and 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 seatbelt."

According to the LA Times, Cunningham was released after about ten minutes by a UCLA police sergeant.

UCLA officials say Cunningham was handcuffed because he stood in the road and refused to get back into his car. According to the LA Times, there is video footage of the incident.

[image via AP]