The NAACP is now calling for an investigation into a man’s allegations that he was roughed up by Santa Monica police officers during an arrest at a city park in April.
Justin Palmer has filed an excessive force claim against the city in the wake of the incident at Virginia Avenue Park April 21, which was recorded on a bystander’s cell phone.
NAACP leaders said they believe Palmer was singled out because he is black. They accuse the SMPD of a long standing pattern of racial bias.
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The lawsuit does not allege racial motivation - but Palmer’s attorney, Justin Sanders, said his client’s family supports the demand for an investigation.
"The Palmer family and their attorneys support the work of the NAACP to reform the Santa Monica Police Department and to reform and clarify the city's regulations relating to its parks and electric vehicles," Sanders said Thursday.
The NAACP also wants the SMPD to remove the press release about Palmer’s arrest from their website. It includes his mug shot. NAACP Santa Monica branch president Darrell Goode says the press release vilifies Palmer - especially since no charges were ever filed against him.
The Santa Monica Police Department issued a statement to NBC4 last week that said "at this point they believe the officers acted within policy."
A department spokesman declined to comment Thursday, citing pending litigation.