An investigation on the officers who used force when arresting a Venice skateboarder on Aug. 18 is underway and may take up to six months.
Venice community members and police officials met on Tuesday at the Westminster Senior Center, located at 1234 Pacific Ave., to discuss the recent arrest of Ronald Weekly, the skateboarder who was stopped for riding on the wrong side of the street and then beaten by police in Venice on Aug. 18.
“We hope this discussion has some longevity to it,” said Ronald Weekly Sr., the 20-year-old skateboarder’s father. “I hope that after this meeting, we come together as a community and put together a strategic plan on specific changes that we want to make.”
The officers involved in the arrest were assigned to the LAPD violent task force, a roving unit that patrols different areas throughout Los Angeles based on need. Typically, it monitors Venice on Saturdays due to the influx in tourism and the uptick in crime, according to Capt. Brian Johnson of the LAPD Pacific Division.
“It is not our position to say that what happened to our son is a statement about the entire police department and the wonderful men and women who do their job,” Ronald Weekly Sr. said.
Ronald Weekly Jr. has been charged with interfering with an officer and using force while resisting officers, a felony.
“Based on all the witness accounts that have been reported...as well as what we saw in that video with our eyes, what did he do to be charged with a felony conviction?” said Benjamin Crump, Weekly’s attorney, who also represents Trayvon Martin's family.
He asked Johnson at the meeting whether the officers would be reprimanded or suspended. Although Johnson said he could not talk about the ongoing investigation, that could take six months, he did say that the task force has not been back to Venice since the incident.
Some residents at the meeting were appalled that the investigation on the officers may not be concluded earlier.
“If it’s going quickly, I have a problem with that. Because I want to make sure that everything is done the right away and everything is looked at the right away,” said Alexander Bustamante, LAPD inspector general, who oversees complaints against police officers. “Because my concern is something slipping through the cracks.”
Crump claims that his client was not immediately given the proper medical treatment, and that his father was sent to four different facilities to try to find his son.
“When I picked up my son, I asked the officer, ‘What was the probable cause for you stopping my son?’” Ronald Weekly Sr. said. “He looked at me and said, ‘Probable cause? We observed your son skateboarding on the wrong side of the street.’”