LAPD Launches Probes Into Student-Officer Clash at USC Party

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A weekend confrontation between LAPD officers, and black and Latino students at USC led to allegations of racial profiling. The students say this is not the first time law enforcement has clashed with minority students, but is an ongoing situation on campus. Lolita Lopez reports from USC for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 6, 2013.

    The LAPD has launched investigations into several complaints of excessive force and racial profiling against officers involved in a weekend confrontation with mostly black and Latino students in an incident captured on YouTube.

    The cases are being launched in connection with a confrontation that happened overnight Friday at a party hosted by black USC students celebrating the end of finals week.

    USC Party Host Describes Police Response

    [LA] USC Party Host Describes Police Response
    Party host Nate Howard describes what happened when LAPD officers responded to a party involving USC students. Toni Guinyard reports for Today in LA on Monday April 6, 2013.

    "We will investigate those complaints vigorously," said Los Angeles Police Lt. Andy Neiman, a department spokesman. "If there is a perception that something was done out of the ordinary or a perception of biased policing, we certainly want to address those concerns right away."

    Meanwhile, students are participating in a public forum Tuesday night with representatives from the Los Angeles Police Department and campus police in hopes of coming up with solutions.

    Nate Howard, a USC senior, one of the party hosts, said he was handcuffed, pushed against the wall and put into the back of a squad car after he asked officers what was going on.

    “There was no reason for me to be handcuffed, pushed the way I was,” he said. “We were just having a good time."

    Ola Bayode said as many as six officers grabbed him, threw him to the floor and cuffed him.

    "Yeah, I resisted a little bit," he said. "I was just taken aback by their aggressive manner."

    Michael Jackson, the vice president of student affairs at USC, said many students are upset and that the college is working with them to "ensure respectful treatment of students at peaceful social gatherings."

    John Thomas, the chief of USC's Department of Public Safety, said university police were working with the LAPD to "ensure that the response of LAPD to complaints about student parties is properly calibrated."

    Police were called out to the house party at 23rd and Hoover streets, seven blocks north of USC, due to complaints in the community about noise, Neiman said.

    The party, which Howard said had a permit, featured a battle of DJs in the backyard.

    Police broke up the party about 2 a.m., Howard said.

    A YouTube video shows a line of up to 80 officers, some wearing helmets and holding batons, dispersing students in the street.

    Some in the crowd threw objects at officers, Neiman said. One officer suffered an injury to his shoulder during a fight with a person who he was arresting, Neiman said.

    Six people were arrested, Neiman said.

    A second video captured on a cellphone showed turmoil in the backyard of the home as officers ordered people to leave.

    Howard said that police had responded that night to another party hosted by white students across the street, but that the students there were ordered to stay “inside the house and stay safe” while officers responded to the party hosted by black students.

    The party initially closed down and then started back up while police were shutting down the second party, Neiman said.

    Both parties were shut down, Neiman said.

    The incident prompted several dozen students to conduct a sit-in at Tommy Trojan at noon on Monday. A community meeting was expected to be held on Tuesday to address the incident.