The Los Angeles LGBT Center is calling for the suspension and investigation into the arrest of Emmett Brock by a Los Angeles County Sheriff deputy who used violent force to arrest the 24-year-old teacher, who is transgender. According to reports, a deputy tailed him for several blocks before the pair pulled into a 7-Eleven parking lot in Whittier. A security camera caught the pair’s encounter.
Both the deputy and Brock exited their vehicles soon after parking. The deputy told Brock to “come here” while approaching the 24-year-old’s car. The situation escalated after a brief back-and-forth debate about whether or not the deputy stopped Brock. Surveillance footage shows Brock being tackled to the ground and punched several times. According to the deputy, he was stopped over an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center issued the following statement:
“Recently, video footage surfaced that shows a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy violently beating an unarmed trans man under the pretense of a routine traffic stop. The Los Angeles LGBT Center is calling for the immediate suspension of Deputy Joseph Benza pending a full investigation of this incident.
In the video, we see Emmett Brock, a 23-year-old high school teacher, being pinned down and beaten by Deputy Benza—despite showing no immediate signs of resisting arrest. Shockingly, the purported reason for Brock’s traffic stop was that he had an air freshener hanging in his rearview mirror. Brock suffered a concussion and lost his job as a result of the attack—and he still faces charges of resisting arrest and battery on an officer, despite evidence to the contrary. Brock also described a horrifying encounter while being taken into custody in which he was forced to “prove” his gender identity by showing his genitalia to officers.
It has long been clear that Los Angeles needs immediate reforms on police use of force, and that marginalized people bear the brunt of police-related violence. We demand the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department immediately suspend Deputy Benza and conduct a full and thorough investigation into this incident.
What is so troubling about this situation is that this officer was cleared of wrong-doing, and without this video footage being released, this violent encounter would likely have been swept under the rug. Our community—and the people of Los Angeles—deserve better.” —Joe Hollendoner, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center.