At Lancaster High in 2021
A Black teenage girl who was allegedly body-slammed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy working as a school resource officer at Lancaster High School in 2021 says in new court papers that the deputy called her an “animal” who belonged in juvenile hall.
The plaintiff, born in 2004, is identified only as Jane Doe 1 in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought against the county, the Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Daniel Acquilano and the Antelope Valley Union High School District. The woman’s statements came in a sworn declaration filed by her attorneys on April 10 with Judge Armen Tamzarian in support of their motion asking that they be allowed to review Acquilano’s personnel records.
“If Acquilano has a history of targeting Black students and/or a history of excessive use of force, that information would be undoubtedly relevant in this case,” the plaintiff’s attorneys state in their court papers. Tamzarian is scheduled to hold a hearing on their motion April 17.
In their court papers in opposition to the motion to produce the deputy’s records, attorneys for the county state that Acquilano “used force against Jane Doe 1 when she refused to give him her cell phone and walked away from him at Lancaster High School.”
In her declaration, the plaintiff says she asked the deputy to cite her at the Lancaster sheriff’s station and then take her home rather than to juvenile hall.
“In response, (Deputy) Acquilano said to me, ‘You’re an animal … and you belong there,”’ the plaintiff says. “He was referring to me belonging at juvenile hall. I believe he referred to me as an ‘animal’ and sent me, the victim, to juvenile hall because I am Black. I believe he would not call a White person an ‘animal’ and would not have sent a White teenager to juvenile hall who behaved in the same innocent manner as me.”
Although another deputy opposed taking the plaintiff to juvenile hall, Acquilano instructed a colleague to drive for two hours to Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, where she was “booked and put in a jail cell until my mom came to pick me up later in the evening,” the plaintiff says.
Attorneys for the county and the district deny any liability and state that the plaintiff is not entitled to damages, according to their court papers.
The incident was recorded on video and occurred Aug. 30, 2021, when the plaintiff was 16 years old.
“After slamming her down, he straddles her face down on the ground, while she is screaming to call her mom,” the suit filed last May 4 states. “The video captures school personnel standing around watching the incident, failing to intervene.”