The LAPD initially said one of its officers, Houston Tipping, died during a training exercise last month after he “fell to the floor and suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury.”
Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore also said he was “proud of Officer Tipping’s training classmates that immediately sprang into action, initiating CPR and other life saving measures as well as the work of the LA Fire Department,” according to a press release issued May 31, three days after the incident.
But Tipping’s mother is claiming her son was beaten to death by officers in an exercise meant to “simulate a mob” and that was “repeatedly struck in the head severely enough that he bled,” according to a notice of claim she filed against the city Thursday obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Shirley Huffman said her son died from multiple breaks in his neck and that this particular exercise had been questioned before because other officers had been injured, according to the claim which is a pre-cursor to a lawsuit.
The LAPD has offered no further details other than Tipping was “engaged in a training scenario involving grappling with another officer” when he fell and suffered the spinal injury.
Tipping, 32, who joined the department in 2017, was laid to rest Wednesday in a funeral that began with a bagpipe procession and ended up with the chief handing Huffman a folded American flag.
Huffman’s claim is calling for the city to preserve all evidence in the matter, including “videos of the entire training exercise and actions taken against Officer Tipping,” the Times reported.
Bradley Gage, an attorney for Huffman, told the Times that Tipping suffered injuries to two parts of his head and to four vertebrae.
Captain Kelly Muniz, an LAPD spokeswoman, said the department has launched an investigation to determine whether “there are any changes that need to be made.”