In December 2012, 26-year-old Daniel Johnson questioned Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputies about the harsh punishment they threatened against his disabled father for dropping a cigarette outside his home. In response, Johnson alleges, the officers asserted their authority by attacking his genitals.
In a lawsuit filed against the officers, Johnson claims that his father was cited for littering moments after the man dropped a cigarette outside of his home. The younger Johnson approached the officers, named “Abdulfattah” and “Russell” in the complaint, to ask why his father was told he faced a $1,000 fine and eight months of community service for an infraction as small as dropping a cigarette. The young man further asserted that his 58-year-old father suffers nerve damage to his hand, which caused him to unintentionally drop the cigarette.
According to Johnson’s complaint, his assertions were not appreciated by the officers.
“Deputy Abdulfattah responded by belligerently threatening Mr. Johnson, telling him that ‘I can write you a ticket too if you want,'” the Federal lawsuit states.
After his interaction with the officers, during which the plaintiff said he didn’t threaten, resist or raise his voice, Johnson turned to go back into the house at his mother’s request.
But the police whose authority had been questioned were allegedly unwilling to allow Johnson, who stands 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 155 pounds, to remove himself from the situation unmolested. The complaint alleges that the duo grabbed the young man before slamming him into a squad car and a concrete post.
Johnson claims that, as the police put their hands on him, he asked why he was being attacked. His parents also allegedly pleaded with the officers to “leave him alone” because “he hasn’t done anything wrong.”
The lawsuit implies that the family’s protestations further angered the officers, leading Russell to put the younger Johnson in a full Nelson and Abdulfattah to punch his father in the face — presumably with a chorus of “stop resisting.” Russell then pulled Johnson to the ground as Abdulfattah turned his attention, and his Taser, to the young man’s genitals. After shooting Johnson in the crotch with the Taser barbs, Abdulfattah allegedly shocked Johnson repeatedly.
“He was not moving or resisting in any way when Deputy Abdulfattah began to Tase him. Mr. Johnson could smell his flesh burning from the Tases and he was screaming in pain,” the complaint says. “Abdulfattah continued to intentionally shoot his Taser at plaintiff’s genitals every couple seconds. Mr. Johnson begged Abdulfattah to stop Tasing him. His mother and father repeatedly asked Abdulfattah to stop Tasing him. Deputy Abdulfattah did not stop.”
After burning his genitals with the Taser, the officers arrested Johnson and charged him with battery.
In his lawsuit, Johnson says that Abdulfattah has faced multiple complaints of excessive force and has harassed him on other occasions. In December 2013, Johnson claims that Abdulfattah and another deputy questioned him aggressively after noticing an unfamiliar person at the residence — his younger brother. The officers’ actions during that encounter made Johnson fear for his life, the suit says.
Johnson is seeking damages for excessive force, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false arrest, battery, civil rights abuses and violations of the Constitution.