An attorney for a man claiming he was wrongfully arrested by UCLA police after a traffic stop is considering a lawsuit against the agency.
Attorney Carl Douglas said UCLA police arrested his client, Claudius Gaines III, a UCLA employee, before midnight Wednesday after they stopped him for a blown license plate light, Douglas said. The lawyer said police handcuffed him and threatened to spray him with mace before charging him with resisting arrest.
"He is a black man driving the streets of Westwood and unfortunately that is suspicious to some members of the UCLA Police Department," Douglas said.
UCLA officials said in a statement that Gaines repeatedly refused to comply with officers' orders to see his driver's license and registration.
"Officers then asked him to get out of the car, a request Mr. Gaines again repeatedly refused, escalating the situation and leading to his arrest for obstructing and resisting an officer," the college said in a statement.
Gaines was issued a citation and released, the university said.
Gaines protested and questioned why he had been stopped but the married father of two young children was not aggressive with officers, attorneys for Gaines admitted.
"He kept his hands on the steering wheel," said another Gaines attorney, Jamon Hicks.
The case reminds Douglas of an arrest by UCLA police of a prominent black judge last year.
Judge David Cunningham claimed he was roughed up during a traffic stop for a seatbelt violation. The University of California and Cunningham reached a $500,000 settlement last month.
"It shocked me that it happened again," Douglas said.
The UCLA Peace Officer's Association emailed the following statement to NBC4: "The UCLA Peace Officer’s Association and its diverse membership stands by the Officers and their actions regarding the traffic stop of Claudius Gaines III. Attorney Carl Douglas has repeatedly made remarks which misrepresent the Officer's actions regarding two recent incidents at UCLA. The Association welcomes an open and transparent investigation of the incidents. There are police dashboard camera videos available which any member of the media could request through the Public Records Act. We are extremely confident if the video is released of either incident, the Officer's actions would be clearly justified and professional."