Michael Moore, a 62-year-old blind man, had already been victimized by the time Los Angeles police officers showed up to his apartment a little more than three years ago.
But he ended up further victimized when an LAPD cop placed a towel over his face while he was strapped to a gurney, leaving him unable to breathe and causing him to lose consciousness.
He then spent 139 days in jail on multiple felony charges of assault on a police officer because he was unable to pay bail before a jury acquitted him of all charges.
Last week, Moore accepted a $300,000 settlement, according to his attorneys who filed the lawsuit in April 2020, accusing the Los Angeles Police Department of unlawful seizure, excessive force, battery and negligence.
The incident took place on February 28, 2019 after Moore had been transported against his will to a hospital in downtown Los Angeles following an altercation with the niece of a friend who had struck him in the face inside his upstairs apartment, then snatched his phone to keep him from recording.
The niece then shoved him down the stairs as he attempted to ask a neighbor to call police. She then threatened to have him killed by her friends who were in a gang before fleeing the scene, according to the lawsuit.
Later that day, Los Angeles firefighters entered his apartment without identifying themselves in response to a call for medical assistance.
Unable to see them, Moore at first thought they were the gang members coming to kill him. It was only when he heard voices from their radios that they identified themselves, the lawsuit states.
They asked if he was on medication and he told them he was taking medication for his bipolar disorder. He also told them they were not helping his condition by entering his apartment without identifying themselves.
He then told them he did not need their help and began escorting them to the door. But when he tried to close the front door to his apartment after leading them out, he felt somebody blocking the door from being closed.
And when he tried to shut the door again, somebody on the other side shoved it back hard, flinging the door open and striking Moore in the head, knocking him backwards.
By then, LAPD had arrived and were told that Moore was blind and had a history of mental illness so they joined in the assault.
According to the lawsuit which you can read here:
At approximately 7:10 P.M., Mr. Moore felt someone grab his wrist and then his body. The Officer Defendants grabbed Mr. Moore, violently twisted his wrist, twisted his neck, slammed his head to the floor, beat him, and jammed their knees into his back, causing Mr. Moore great pain. Mr. Moore cried out, “Why are you arresting me? I am the victim!” The Officer Defendants did not respond. Defendants twisted Mr. Moore’s right arm again, handcuffed him, placed a hobble restraint on his legs, and carried him down the stairs. On information and belief, the Officer Defendants who did not beat Mr. Moore had a realistic and reasonable opportunity to intervene to stop the other Officers Defendants’ unreasonable use of force but failed to do so.
He was transported against his will to California Hospital Medical Center which was when police body camera footage showed LAPD officer Justin Choi placing the towel over his face while cupping his hands over Moore’s mouth and noise.
“Why is he suffocating me?” pleaded Moore after more than 90 seconds. “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!! I CAN’T BREATHE!!!”
But the cop continued to hold the towel over Moore’s face for another minute until Moore’s body went limp. Choi eventually removed his hands but left the towel over Moore’s face. A health worker then removed it.
At no point did another cop, security guard of hospital worker respond to Moore’s cries for help.
Moore, who is now 65 years old, spent an earlier part of his life working in construction but an accident damaged his left eye, leaving him blinded in that eye. A few years later, he lost his vision in his right eye after he was brutally attacked during a robbery attempt.
In the early 2000s, Moore enrolled in a government program to teach legally blinded adults to operate food service businesses. He was then selected to manage the Inglewood Court Snack Stand, which operated out of a courthouse.
Then in 2007, he worked at a nonprofit community clinic with his life partner, Dr. Evelyn Clark before she passed away in 2014, leading to the closing of the clinic, according to the lawsuit.
In 2018, he moved into his apartment in South Los Angeles and founded a community organization to help clean up the neighborhood by providing jobs for at-risk adults staying at the local homeless shelter.
He would fund the organization through neighborhood barbecues and was working on a plan to provide books and computer access to the children in the neighborhood, the lawsuit states.
In early 2019, he agreed to allow the niece of his friend to use his kitchen but she would refuse to clean up after herself so he told her she would no longer be allowed to use the kitchen which sent her into a rage.
The niece has been identified in the lawsuit as Camilla Slaughter. It is not clear at this time if she was ever arrested.
The lawsuit also states Moore had been counting on LAPD to help him but now he wants nothing to do with cops.
The incident has deeply traumatized Mr. Moore. As a direct cause of the incident, Mr. Moore suffers extreme anxiety and paranoia. The slightest noise startles him; he freezes in fear when he hears wind coming through his door or the rustling of his window shades. He is afraid to walk down the street. He lives in constant fear of the police. Mr. Moore also suffers severe insomnia and is awakened by nightmares when he does fall asleep.
Watch the video below.