April 20, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Charges Dropped for Trans Man Arrested by LA County Sheriff’s Deputy in High-Profile Incident

Emmett Brock’s Case Dismissed; Advocates Continue To Press For LASD Investigation

By Dolores Quintana

In February, Emmett Brock, a trans man and public school teacher, was stopped by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy after parking in a 7-11 parking lot in Whittier which escalated into a violent arrest. As the video footage capturing the incident emerged, the LGBTQ+ community united to demand justice for Brock.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center issued a press release after the incident came to light. It said, “Recently, video footage surfaced that shows a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy violently beating an unarmed trans man under the pretense of a routine traffic stop. The Los Angeles LGBT Center is calling for the immediate suspension of Deputy Joseph Benza pending a full investigation of this incident.

In the video, we see Emmett Brock, a 23-year-old high school teacher, being pinned down and beaten by Deputy Benza—despite showing no immediate signs of resisting arrest. Shockingly, the purported reason for Brock’s traffic stop was that he had an air freshener hanging in his rearview mirror. Brock suffered a concussion and lost his job as a result of the attack—and he still faces charges of resisting arrest and battery on an officer, despite evidence to the contrary. Brock also described a horrifying encounter while being taken into custody in which he was forced to “prove” his gender identity by showing his genitalia to officers.”

The LGBT Center’s Facebook posted an update on Friday about the case and said, “Emmett Brock recently confirmed that all charges against him have been dropped, leading to the District Attorney’s office dismissing the case. This development has provided a glimmer of hope and relief to Brock and his supporters who rallied behind him.

From the moment the video footage unveiled the violent arrest, members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies swiftly rallied to lend their support to Brock’s cause. The incident not only underscored concerns about police brutality but also highlighted the specific vulnerabilities that transgender individuals face during interactions with law enforcement.”

The Center’s Facebook post added, “We stand with Emmett Brock and will continue to support him while following the ongoing investigation into the Sheriff’s Department.”

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