LA Deputy Punches Transgender Man in Parking Lot After Disagreeing Over Traffic Stop, Video Shows
In a statement to Inside Edition Digital, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office says, “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department takes all use of force incidents seriously."
A Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Deputy was recorded on surveillance camera allegedly punching a transgender man in February, according to reports.
Surveillance footage shows the arrest of a 23-year-old transgender school teacher by a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 10 at 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven.
The footage was released to the media by the teacher's attorney, according to Fox 11.
The LASD deputy, identified by the Los Angeles Times as Joseph Benza, can be seen in the footage, which parts of were viewed by Inside Edition Digital, pulling into the parking lot directly behind Emmet Brock’s black Honda Civic, blocking him in the parking lot.
Benza is then seen exiting his cruiser and approaching Brock as he was getting out of his vehicle.
In the deputy’s body-worn camera, the officer says “come here” and that is when Brock can be heard and seen getting out of the car. The officer can be heard saying he “just stopped” the teacher. A reportedly confused Brock says, “no, you didn’t,” according to the footage. That is when the deputy reaches for Brock’s arm, according to Fox 11.
“Yeah, I did,” Benza says before there is a struggle and Brock is thrown to the ground.
“Oh, my God. What the f*** is happening?!” Brock screams.
As Brock screams for help, Banza can be seen punching him in the head, according to Brock's attorney. The incident reportedly lasted three minutes.
Brock was then brought to Norwalk Sheriff’s Station and charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest and misdemeanor battery on an officer.
It is unknown if Brock has entered a plea. Inside Edition Digital has reached out to the Los Angeles County Courts Clerk for more information.
Brock’s attorney, Thomas Beck, told the Times that his client was humiliated when he told Norwalk Sheriff’s Station staff that he was a transgender man, and they allegedly asked to see his genitals before deciding which holding cell to put him in.
A spokesperson for Norwalk Sheriff’s Station told Inside Edition Digital they "cannot comment on this case."
Brock’s attorney told KTLA that the Benza's official reason for pulling his client over was an air freshener hanging from the vehicle’s rear-view mirror, but Beck said that he believes the deputy became enraged after Brock flipped him off as he was driving by.
The deputy then followed Brock until he pulled into the 7-Eleven parking lot, Brock’s attorney told KTLA.
Inside Edition Digital has reached out to Brock’s attorney for comment.
In a statement to Inside Edition Digital, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office says, “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department 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.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office would "not confirm at this time" when asked if Benza has been disciplined.
Inside Edition Digital has reached out to the LASPA, the union representing Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Officers for comment and has not heard back.
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