A man is suing the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, alleging a Los Angeles police officer needlessly hit him with a baton during a George Floyd protest in 2020 and that sheriff’s deputies wrongfully detained and restrained him during another event days later.
Sage Moloney’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges civil rights violations, false arrest and imprisonment, assault and battery, negligence and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Moloney seeks unspecified damages in the suit filed Monday. Representatives for the county and city could not be immediately reached.
Moloney, who was 21 at the time, arrived at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights about noon last May 30, five days after Floyd’s death at the hands of then-Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, the suit states.
He and a friend, Fiona Stockdale, were part of a peaceful protest showing support for Black Lives Matter and the families and memory of people who were killed at the hands of law enforcement, in particular Floyd, the suit states.
After hearing speakers and music, the crowd then started marching and reached downtown about 4:30 p.m., the suit states. Moloney saw an LAPD police scrimmage line at some intersections and some of them, without warning, shot projectiles at the crowd, the suit states.
“Moloney witnessed people around him being injured,” the suit states. “He observed peaceful protesters nearby who were hit by these projectiles and were bleeding from their heads, arms and legs.”
About two hours later, Moloney was “simply standing there peacefully protesting” when an unidentified LAPD officer aimed a less-lethal weapon at him, the suit states. When the plaintiff asked the officer why he was pointing the s weapon at him, the officer withdrew it, the suit states.
However, another LAPD officer then began hitting Moloney’s left ribs with a baton, the suit states.
“As a result of this attack. Mr. Moloney was unable to move nor perform daily tasks for a number of days after the incident and his ribs remained sore and bruised for a few weeks,” the suit states.
Moloney returned downtown last June 3 and was arrested for peacefully protesting outside of City Hall in alleged violation of a curfew then in existence that he maintains was unconstitutional. He was not given his Miranda Rights and numerous Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrested protesters, including Moloney, the suit states.
As many as three deputies “grabbed Mr. Moloney and yanked the zip ties on his wrist extremely tight,” the suit alleges.
The deputies ignored Moloney’s request to loosen the restraints so as to ease his pain and his hands began turning purple on the jail bus, the suit states.
Moloney also saw other protesters urinating while detained on the bus without access to bathrooms, the suit states. Most of the law enforcement members did not wear masks, the suit further states.
Moloney and the other detainees were released from the buss with citations about 3 a.m. last May 31, the suit states.
Read the the full complaint below: