We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up)
This story has been updated. All updates appear at the bottom.
An interesting trial is taking place in Los Angeles involving yet again the Los Angeles Police Department and the City Attorney’s office that lends credence to the phrase, “this is what happens when you call the cops, you get your rights violated or you all get shot.”
A special education assistant in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 16 years, Ms. Zennea Foster is a mother of four and a foster mother of two.
The short and sweet version is that on February 4, 2015, Ms. Foster is called about a fight at a house she owns in South L.A. near Denker and Florence Avenues between two of the residents she rents to. She tells the person who called her to call the police and that she’s on her way over.
She arrives first and then her boyfriend arrives, he’s on a motorcycle.
The two residents involved in the incident have both left the premises.
As they are on the porch officers from 77th Street Division arrive on the scene and notice her boyfriend’s motorcycle.
Witnesses say one police officer says, “nice bike, we’re taking it.” The boyfriend responds by asking why and says “that’s not what you’re here for.” A police officer asks who said that and says “cuff him” and the police handcuff the boyfriend right then and there.
The owner of the house, Ms. Foster, stands about 5’3” and has only the use of her right arm. She suffers from a condition called Erb’s Palsy. She was a breech birth baby and was injured in childbirth. She can only use her right arm. Her left arm is non functioning. It only can lay by her side.
Ms. Foster proceeds to tell the officers that she’s the owner of the house and that the suspect is no longer here. Witnesses say an officer responded by saying that he didn’t care.
From here it goes down hill but rather than have me explain it to you, I’ll let you hear it for yourself.
The edited version, while clearer to hear, can be a bit misleading because there are greater gaps between the application of force. Below is about 2 minutes and 12 seconds of unedited audio where after Ms. Foster says “no you don’t give a f***,” you will hear her walking up the steps of her porch into her house without the officer of screaming “hey stop!” as he testified.
When Ms. Foster is forced to the ground officers yell at her because she is not giving them her left arm. You hear Foster repeatedly say she cannot give them her left arm because of a disability.
Needless to say a 6’3″ African-American officer claims that he is forced to deliver two punches to Ms. Foster’s face in self-defense after she had hit him once for absolutely no reason, while holding her cell phone.
Though she stands but 5’3″ tall, each of the officers testify that she didn’t so much as flinch or stagger after he delivered his first blow to her face, which he said was a level 5 out of 10 in power. Because she has no reaction to his first punch, he claims he is forced to deliver a second blow to her face, which he said is a level 8 out of 10 in force.
But Zennea Foster is charged with resisting arrest and battery on an officer. That part.
Ms. Foster told investigators that night that she had hit the officer back after he had grabbed her and struck her while she was speaking on the phone to the person the cops were looking for. She was on the phone walking into her house looking for another cop to hand the phone to after the other officer had declined to speak to the man on the phone.
According to Ms. Foster’s attorney Carl Douglas:
“We introduced a chilling, yet powerful recording of the beating as it was taking place, since Zennea’s cell phone was recording the beating. You can hear her screaming in pain and explaining that she is disabled and physically unable to give them her left hand as they are demanding. You can hear the rhythmic sounds of blows being delivered to her body as she screams out in pain. It is horrifying to hear.
After falling to the ground, it takes THREE cops, each weighing more than 200 pounds to handcuff her. They admit that Officer Andre Burton had his knee in her back, and another cop was pressing his knee into her shoulder, yet they were unable to pry her disabled left arm from under her body. She is being charged in one of the three counts with resisting their efforts to cuff her left arm.
They then tie a hobble restraint around her ankles because they were concerned that she may injure them. She was wearing sandals with her bare feet. They then take this pictures of their work, further degrading her.
Fortunately, we ended the week with the powerful testimony of a one of the residents, “Ms. W”, who had slipped back into the house to use the bathroom before the attack, unbeknownst to the cops. She then emerges when she hears Zennea’s screams, and sees four cops kicking Zennea in the head and elbowing her in her torso as she is writhing in pain, screaming that she is unable to give them her hand. There wasn’t a dry eye in the courtroom, other than the other city attorneys who were watching the trial from the back.”
Court resumes on Monday morning in Department 75 at Metro Court located at 1945 South Hill Street. Closing arguments are expected on Tuesday.
At the close of court today, Ms. Zennea Foster was on the witness stand undergoing cross-examination from the City Attorney’s office which will resume Tuesday morning. Closing arguments are expected to commence after lunch around 1:30 p.m. Attorney Carl Douglas says that supporters of Ms. Foster’s who attend court are encouraged to wear winter white to court tomorrow. Department 75 at Metro Court located at 1945 South Hill Street.
Below is a quote from Ms. Foster’s attorney Carl Douglas on the jury’s verdict which was announced on Christmas Eve.
“It is unfortunate that I must announce that the jury returned a verdict of conviction against Zennea Foster on each of the two counts of violating Penal Code section 148, obstructing, resisting or delaying a police officer. That catch – all Code section is so broad that it is virtually impossible to overcome. Almost anything that a person does to protest some action, can be interpreted as delaying an investigation. Here, the jury concluded that Ms. Foster delayed the police investigation of her own home by walking into her house attempting to find someone who would take the phone and speak to the suspect they were looking for. After speaking with the jury foreperson, an African American woman, it is clear that a majority of the jury blindly accepted the police version of what had happened as opposed to the civilian witnesses who testified on Ms. Fosters behalf. In spite of this setback, I vow to continue my fight, my efforts to vindicate Zennea’s rights.”–Carl Douglas
In other words, this is far from over.