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Lawyer: LAPD Officer Was 'Beaten to Death' During Training

Houston Tipping died after exercise intended to simulate mob attack
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2022 4:51 PM CDT
Lawyer: LAPD Officer Was 'Beaten to Death' During Training
Los Angeles Police Department officers carry the casket of LAPD Officer Houston R. Tipping at the beginning of his memorial service, on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles.   (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool)

(Newser) – The Los Angeles Police Department is being accused of using excessive force against one of its own officers during a training exercise last month, leading to the man's death. Shirley Huffman, mother of Houston Tipping, has filed a wrongful-death claim against the city, alleging assault and violations of her son's civil rights, the AP reports. She says that during an exercise meant to simulate a mob attack, Tipping's neck was broken in multiple places after he was "repeatedly struck in the head severely enough that he bled." The 32-year-old officer was taken off life support and died three days after the May 26 incident.

Huffman's lawyer, Bradley Gage, says Tipping also had a punctured lung and broken ribs, and it is "mind-boggling" that an officer could be so badly injured during training. "He was supposed to be in training, but he was brutally injured instead," Gage says, per the Washington Post. "He went from being a healthy young man loving his job, protecting and serving all of us, and became a quadriplegic who could not even [breathe] on his own." He says that when Tipping, a bicycle officer who had been with the LAPD for around five years, regained consciousness, he communicated through blinks that he did not want to live as a quadriplegic.

Gage said Huffman is "pro-police," but she needs to know more about the "troubling events" that led to her son's death. He says Tipping's injuries suggest that whatever happened was a long way outside normal training. "It's a beating," he says. "It's a beating to death of a police officer." In a May 31 statement, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Tipping was "grappling with another officer" during training when he "fell to the floor and suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury." According to Huffman's wrongful-death claim, the training "had already been questioned" before her son's death because of injuries to other officers. (Read more LAPD stories.)

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