Los Angeles city council president says video shows neighboring city officers abandoning homeless person outside his office

Jun 8, 2024, 12:43 PM

L.A. City Council President Paul Krekorian during a news conference at city hall on Friday, June 7,...

L.A. City Council President Paul Krekorian during a news conference at city hall on Friday, June 7, 2024. (Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

(Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) — The Los Angeles City Council president says surveillance video taken from outside his district office in North Hollywood on Thursday shows officers from another city’s police department dropping a homeless person off on the sidewalk and “abandoning” him there and has called for a state investigation of the incident.

“A Burbank Police Department vehicle pulled up in front of my office,” Council President Paul Krekorian, a Democrat, said in a news conference Friday. “A person was discharged from that vehicle in handcuffs. The handcuffs were removed. The person fell to the sidewalk, clearly experiencing a mental health crisis, as well as physical injuries and the officers of the Burbank Police Department got back in their vehicle and drove back to Burbank, without giving any aid to this person, without determining whether there was anyone who could provide services to this person.”

As seen in the surveillance video played at the news conference, two officers escort the man out of the back seat of their vehicle and remove apparent hand restraints. Walking away from the vehicle, the man appears to lose balance, waves his arms, and falls to the sidewalk on all fours. The police vehicle departs as the man later lies flat on his stomach. The video ends and it is unclear for how long he remained on the sidewalk.

Krekorian said he introduced a motion on Friday, calling on the Los Angeles City Attorney, County District Attorney, and the Attorney General of California to investigate the matter and to “ascertain what appropriate legal actions should be taken.”

Burbank Mayor Nick Schultz in a post on X Friday assured that the “City of Burbank takes the concerns raised by Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian seriously,” saying the city was “gathering all of the facts.”

The Burbank Police Department then issued a statement, saying it was aware of a video showing Burbank police officers dropping off the individual on the sidewalk in North Hollywood.

According to the police department, they had initially responded to a call for service Thursday around 8:45 a.m., regarding a naked person sitting at a bus stop just outside Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. Responding officers found him “lucid and communicative,” and the man got dressed after a conversation with the officers, the statement said.

Police said the man told them he was homeless and had been transported from the Sunland-Tujunga neighborhood in Los Angeles to the hospital for a leg injury he had suffered “many years ago.” According to police, the man had left the hospital voluntarily prior to the officers’ arrival and had declined any medical attention.

Burbank Police said officers then offered to drive the man “to a place of his choosing,” and he asked to be taken to Sunland-Tujunga, but “ultimately agreed to be transported to the Metro Red Line in North Hollywood.”

“He voluntarily got into the patrol vehicle and was driven towards the Metro Red Line station. Along the way, the individual asked to be let out of the patrol vehicle to get coffee. The officers complied immediately with his request, pulled over, and let the individual out of the patrol vehicle,” the statement continued.

In a statement to CNN Saturday, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center said they are aware of Thursday morning’s incident and says that “multiple calls” were made to police, including one from a hospital security guard, regarding a person apparently in distress on a public sidewalk.

“I was outraged by it and continue to be,” Krekorian said at his news conference on Friday. “It’s almost impossible to fathom, you know, professionals who are trained and paid to protect and serve the public – to take somebody at this moment of maximum vulnerability, somebody seeking medical care – and dumping, literally dumping, him on a sidewalk to fend for himself. It’s a disgrace.”

According to the council member, after being made aware of the surveillance video, his staff drove around trying to find the man, whom Krekorian did not identify, located him around 3 p.m., and were able to secure medical care for him through the Los Angeles Fire Department.

“It’s been widely assumed by many, and we hear anecdotally, that some of our surrounding cities and jurisdictions, who don’t spend their resources on providing services, who don’t build shelters for their unhoused residents, who don’t invest in permanent supportive housing, who don’t do the basic human things necessary to address homelessness, are instead pushing their unhoused population into the city of Los Angeles,” Krekorian claimed. “We know it happens, and it’s just rare that we actually get to see it with our own eyes like we can in this video.”

“I would submit that if you see it happening like this on a random security camera, chances are it’s happening a lot more often,” he added.

The Burbank Police Department said it is currently conducting an “in-depth investigation” into the incident, including the actions of the involved police officers. The investigation will include a review of all available body-worn and in-car camera footage, interviews with witnesses, and any other relevant evidence, according to the department.

“The Burbank Police Department remains committed to treating the unhoused community with compassion and respect, and thanks Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian for bringing this matter to our attention,” their statement said.

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Los Angeles city council president says video shows neighboring city officers abandoning homeless person outside his office