A Los Angeles police sheriff is facing a lawsuit after going to extreme measures to prevent a victim from pressing charges against her burglar.
According to CBS Los Angeles, on Jan. 23rd, Vivica Keyes was sleeping in her Artesia, CA home when 29-year-old Jason Damour broke in, smashing a window and leaving blood throughout her home.
Damour tussled with her, but soon Keyes was able to free herself and escape from the house. When police arrived on the scene, a sheriff identified as “Deputy Royo” tried to downplay the incident.
Upon deputies’ arrival, Damour was handcuffed and taken by paramedics, Keyes said. The responding officer, referred to only as “Deputy Royo,” said that she believed the suspect didn’t mean any harm to Keyes and that she was not really hurt, according to Keyes.
“[Officer Royo] told me that it was not a burglary because he hadn’t stolen anything, it was not a forced entry because he was spooked, she put it, and it was not an assault and battery because, in her opinion, I wasn’t hurt,” Keyes said in a statement.
Officer Royo also invited the suspect’s parents over to Keyes’ house, where they pleaded with the shaken victim not to press charges against their son.
Keyes alleges that instead of filing a police report, the responding law enforcement agency, the Lakewood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, brought the suspect’s parents to her home and “encouraged” her to not press charges and to work out an agreement to let the parents of the suspect pay for the damage done to Ms. Keyes home.
“A 29-year-old person was allowed to get his parents to my home within an hour of the incident,” said Keyes. “So my question is, who called him and how did they get to my house that quickly? The parents come up and just immediately start asking me not to press charges. And saying, you know, my son has never done anything like this,” according to Keyes.
In her lawsuit against the police, Keyes says the fact that she is black and Damour is white played a big part into why the case was handled so loosely. Keyes alleges she took pictures of the incident, but police claim they do not have any photos of the break-in and refused to charge Damour, since he didn’t steal anything.
“The only reasonable conclusion I can come to regarding the Sheriff’s Department’s behavior towards me is that it is because I am a black woman and the suspect is a white male,” Keyes said in a statement. “This is unacceptable and no other victim should have to endure what I have gone through.”
Keyes states that she suffered $20,000 in damages, including pain and suffering, extreme trauma and stress that caused her to miss days at work.
SOURCE: CBS Los Angeles | VIDEO CREDIT: News Inc