WARNING: The video at the top of this story may be hard for some to watch.
ANTIOCH, Calif. (KRON) – The Antioch Police Department is facing another misconduct complaint. A couple is suing the department, claiming officers used excessive force and racial profiling during an arrest last year. The couple was later let go and no charges were filed.
A dramatic cell phone video shows Antioch police detaining Juan Laspada In the video above. You can hear Laspada say, “They’re going to kill me.”
The arrest happened on Feb. 25, 2022. Laspada says he and his fiancee Rebecca Rodriguez were waiting for an Uber outside their friend’s home when Antioch police drove by and asked if they were okay.
The couple told police that they were, but officers wanted to talk to Laspada. Laspada says he declined, but officers insisted and tried to separate him from his fiance.
“I told him, ‘I’m just going to go ahead and walk away because your veins are sticking out of your neck. You’re mad, and this is just going to turn into something bad. So I’m going to walk away,’” Laspada told KRON4.
That’s when the couple says things escalated.
“When I was about to go walk by he just slammed me on the ground and he kept punching and punching me,” Laspada said.
A friend captured the arrest on video. It shows police put Laspada on his stomach and punch him. At one point they bent his legs back and sat on him.
“When I was on the ground I was just like, ‘When is it going to stop? When is he going to stop punching me?’” Laspada said.
Rodriguez yelled and pleaded for the officers to stop, fearing for her fiance’s life. Laspada said the officers punched Rodriguez.
Both Rodriguez and Laspada were arrested, but neither was charged. Laspada had to go to the hospital, where he was told he had a mild concussion and needed stitches.
The couple still doesn’t know why this happened, but they are concerned it may be because they’re Hispanic.
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“I always figured it was because of the way I look,” Laspada said. “I always figured that was part of the reason. I’ve dealt with racist cops before.”
The complaint includes excessive force, false arrest and racial profiling. Their attorney Stanley Goff says he’s hoping their case will help shed light on more issues within the department.
“My hope is to shed some light on what is going on in Antioch so that maybe the city will affect some change. Bring in some new officers. Get rid of the officers who are doing these bad things,” Goff said.
The FBI is investigating the police department after the release of racist text messages involving nearly half of the police force.