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LAPD under fire after violent arrest of Venice skateboarder

Ronald Weekley

Rina Palta/KPCC

Ronald Weekley Junior (second from left) with his mother, father and sister. Weekley says police used excessive force when they arrested him August 18 in Venice.

Venice is a beach town. And that means that on any given night — especially on Saturdays — you'll see hundreds of people out and about.

"People skate, they rides bikes," said longtime resident Ronald Weekley. "And you will not see one of them stopped for skateboarding. Backwards, forwards, this side of the street, that side of the street.”

So Ronald Weekley, who’s African American, wants to know why his son was stopped. Ron Weekley Junior, a student at Xavier University, says he didn’t think officers were after him when they yelled at someone to stop as he skated home. He was walking into his apartment when he was grabbed from behind.

"The other officer put his knees on my back," Ron Weekly Jr. described. "He grabbed my hair with his left hand and beat me with his right. He hit me twice, right away ... I started screaming and yelling because I thought I was going to die."

The incident was caught on video, embedded below from NBC-LA.

Police, on the other hand, say Weekley was resisting arrest and touched an officer around his gun belt, "causing him to falter," according to LAPD spokesman Sergeant Frank Preciado.

Police were out in larger numbers in the area, cracking down on violent crime, when they observed Weekley allegedly riding on the wrong side of the road.

Preciado said LAPD is investigating claims of excessive force and will take disciplinary action where appropriate. 

Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is also representing the family of murdered teen Trayvon Martin, flew in from Florida to represent Weekley. He's demanding that the threat of charging Weekley with resisting arrest be dropped. 

Crump also accused the LAPD of racial profiling and asked that officers be disciplined.

"Why did they confront and assault this college student?" he asked, rhetorically. "Was it because he was skating on the wrong side of the road or was it because he was the wrong color?"

LAPD officials have urged the public to be patient as a full investigation is carried out. On Wednesday afternoon, Weekley's family is planning a peaceful demonstration at the site of the incident.

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