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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Graig Graziosi

LAPD officer killed during training ‘accident’ was investigating officers who took part in gang rape


An attorney representing the mother of an LAPD officer who died during a training exercise said he believes the man was targeted for investigating fellow police officers.

Houston Tipping, 32, was reportedly investigating a gang rape that was allegedly carried out by four LAPD officers. Per Brad Gage, the attorney representing Mr Tipping's family, the officer attended a training session with colleagues, including one of the men accused of participating in the gang rape.

“The victim claimed that she was raped by four different people, all LAPD officers. She knew the names of some of those officers because they were in uniform and they had their name tags on,” Mr Gage said during a Monday press conference, according to CBS News. Footage of the event was obtained by Sean Beckner-Carmitchel for Knock LA. “That name of one of those officers with the name tag seems to correlate with one of the officers that was at the bicycle training.”

During the session, which focused on the use of bicycles for policing, Mr Tipping was grievously injured. The LAPD claims he died during the training session while he was grappling with another attendee from an elevated height. According to the department, both men fell, but only Mr Tipping suffered fatal injuries.

Mr Gage believes Mr Tipping was beaten to death by his colleagues for investigating the gang rape.

The alleged rape took place in July 2021. When reporters pressed Mr Gage on why the alleged killers would wait more than a year to attack Mr Tipping, he said that it could be as simple as "opportunity." He also raised the idea that Mr Tipping was making progress in his investigation, prompting the alleged killing.

Though the LAPD Chief Michael Moore told the city's Police Commission in June that Mr Tipping did not suffer a laceration to his head, Mr Gage presented evidence a month later showing reporters a posthumous MRI that found staples in Mr Tipping's head. He maintains that the staples were used in an attempt to stabilise Mr Tipping after the incident.

In addition, Mr Tipping secured sworn statements from a nurse and a paramedic who said the officer's spinal cord was injured, his lung had collapsed, his ribs had been broken and his liver had been damaged in a way consistent with being beaten.

“When you look at all these horrific injuries, the truth is something went seriously wrong here,” Mr Gage said. “I cannot fathom anything other than a severe beating.”

The Los Angeles County Coroner concluded that Mr Tipping died from a spinal cord injury sustained during the training exercise. The coroner's report also claims Mr Tipping's ribs were broken by a LUCAS device, which is an automatic CPR machine.

Mr Gage pointed out that there is no report or evidence he has seen to suggest a LUCAS device was ever used to try to resuscitate Mr Tipping.

The attorney told reporters that the LAPD has provided no video of the incident, claiming no recording was taken the day of Mr Tipping's death. Mr Gage doubts that.

"We don't believe that's accurate," he told reporters.

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