A trans man who was brutally assaulted by a police officer is reportedly planning a legal complaint, seeking more than $10,000 in damages.
Twenty-three-year-old Emmett Brock was brutally attacked in a car park in Los Angeles after being followed and subsequently pinned to the ground by deputy officer Joseph Benza, despite Brock showing no signs of resisting in video footage of the attack.
The altercation reportedly occurred in February 2023 after Brock spotted the deputy having a heated conversation with a woman on the side of the road.
As he drove by, Brock said he threw up his middle finger and was later followed by Benza, until both stopped and the attack occurred.
The school teacher then endured further harassment after being charged with obstruction, resisting arrest and mayhem, as well as a misdemeanour for failing to obey a police officer.
The charges were eventually dropped against Brock, but not before he lost his teaching job as a result of the incident.
Since then, Brock has signalled an intent to pursue a lawsuit after a notice of claim was filed by attorney Thomas Beck, where he accused jailers of harassing Brock by forcing him to expose his genitals in order to prove his gender.
The claim also condemned Benza and other officers for creating a “knowingly false justification” which led to the attack.
In an incident report, the deputy claimed that he began punching Brock repeatedly after saying he was “about to throw a punch” and accussed him of attempting to “rip my skin from my hand” by biting him.
However, a paramedic’s report from the scene made no mention of any bite marks, while a physician assistant wrote in a hospital document that there were “no bite marks at this time”.
Brock has also denied allegations of biting the officer.
While under arrest, Brock was repeatedly harassed by officers who, after he said he was transgender, asked him: “So you’re a girl?”
One officer allegedly demanded proof that Emmett Brock had a penis after Brock explained the hormones he had been on for years. After being forced to show his genitals in a station bathroom, he was placed in a women’s holding cell.
In a statement, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said it was still investigating allegations made against Brock, adding it takes “all use of force incidents seriously”.
“Unfortunately, we cannot comment any further at this time due to the pending litigation in this matter.”
Attorney Tom Yu, who is representing deputy Benza, said: “Joe didn’t do anything wrong … If you don’t want police officers to do takedowns, then don’t train them that way.”