“Do not fucking reach!” an enraged Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy shouted after pulling out his gun on a licensed private investigator sitting in his car in a residential neighborhood working on a case.
But all Ken Sheppard was doing was reaching towards his ear to remove his cell phone ear piece in order to better hear the deputy.
However, that was enough to make deputy Tai Plunkett fear for his life where he kept the gun pointed at Sheppard’s head with trembling hands in a surreal scene seemingly out of a movie.
“Man, you need to put your weapon down,” Sheppard replied, remaining surprisingly composed.
Another deputy walked up and Sheppard addressed her, hoping she would diffuse the situation.
“Deputy, he’s got a weapon pointed at my head, I haven’t done a thing,” he told deputy Caroline Rodriguez.
But she also pulled out her gun, further escalating the situation.
More deputies arrived, including Sergeant Hollis, who eventually got Plunkett to lower his weapon, but only after ordering Sheppard out the car so he could be frisked and handcuffed.
They also searched his vehicle without a warrant.
When realizing Sheppard was breaking no law, the deputies then conspired to fabricate vehicular citations against him to justify Plunkett’s reckless threat to kill him.
And it was all documented on one of Sheppard’s recording devices – apparently unknowing to the deputies – enabling the private investigator to file a lawsuit.
But despite the video evidence that all of the above did take place, a federal jury ruled in favor of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department last month.
However, Sheppard says the jury was never shown the full video, which you can see below.
“No, they didn’t see all the video and the video they did see was altered by defense counsel,” Sheppard explained to Los Angeles journalist Jasmyne Cannick, who broke the story last month.
The incident took place on March 3, 2014 in Montrose, California, a town with a population of about 20,000, less than one percent African American.
But whether or not it can proven that Sheppard, who is black, was racially profiled, the video proves his rights were violated. At least in a world where the Constitution is taken into consideration.
So hopefully the appellate judges will view it before making their decision.
In fact, one female deputy named Hanson begged to be granted permission to taser Sheppard, even though the video proves he did nothing to deserve a tasering.
According to the lawsuit filed on April 20, 2015:
“During the course of the next several minutes, the Deputies on scene conspired to concoct a citable offense against Mr. Sheppard. These law enforcement officials attempted to justify Deputy Plunkett’s actions, ex post facto. Most critically, Deputy Hanson and Deputy Ramirez drafted a citation that was ultimately signed by Deputy Plunkett. Neither Deputy Hanson nor Deputy Ramirez was willing to personally sign the citation, after engaging in a lengthy discussion concerning the contents of said citation. As she was attempting to creatively fashion charges to be brought against Mr. Sheppard within the aforementioned citation, Deputy Hanson stated, ‘please, just let me taser him!'”
Sheppard was not arrested but cited for illegal tints and not having a license plate, but he says his car had a temporary license plate in accordance with the law.
Below are two edited clips from the incident that highlight the most relevant parts along with Cannick’s interview with Sheppard. Below that is the full, unedited clip.