Los Angeles, CA – A woman has launched a use-of-force complaint against a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer, after she refused to comply with the officer’s request to remove her foot from a Metro train seat.
A second woman was also arrested after she interjected herself into the situation.
The incident was recorded by another passenger, Brock Bryan, who subsequently posted the video online (video below). The recording had been viewed over seven million times as of Wednesday afternoon, with numerous commenters making death threats targeted at the officers.
The sergeant asked her to put down her foot, which was on the set and taking up two spots, a violation of openly posted train rules.
Nava refused, and the sergeant had no reasonable option but to eject her from the train for refusing to follow train rules.
In the video, the sergeant was seen speaking with Nava on the train, and eventually motioned for her to get out of her seat. It is unknown how long he may have been speaking with her prior to the start of the video.
When Nava failed to comply with his request, the sergeant gave her a final directive.
"I already told you what to do and you didn't,” he said. “You disobeyed me. You're getting off the train."
“No, I’m not,” Nava replied.
The argumentative teen immediately resisted the sergeant’s efforts to escort her from her seat, at which point he grabbed her by her arm and began pulling her towards the doorway of the train.
"I paid to be on this train, a**hole!” Nava argued as she pulled away. “Stop!”
She then grabbed onto a pole as the sergeant pulled her other arm through the doorway.
The sergeant was able to remove, and pressed her against a wall in the terminal as he called for backup as a crowd formed.
“Are you f*****g kidding me right now?” said a previously uninvolved woman, later identified as 22-year-old Selina Lechuga.
“He’s taking me off the train for having my f*****g foot on the seat,” Nava complained.
“Give me some space, guys,” the lone officer said to the gathering crowd.
“Come on. You think you can do this?” Lechuga asked him. “Yeah, of course you can, f*****g a**hole.”
"Over her foot on the train? That's so ridiculous. That's really abuse of power, officer," Bryan argued from behind his cell phone camera.
“This is not f*****g fair that you took me off the train because I had my foot there because I was comfortable like that!” Nava yelled while pointing her finger at the officer. “There is no law that tells me that I cannot sit that way because I paid to be in there!”
According to the Metro Customer Code of Conduct, “placing feet or shoes on seats or furnishings” is a violation of train rules. The Metro policies also dictate that “a person must comply with all lawful orders and directives given by an authorized Metro representative relative to Metro facilities or vehicles consistent with the Code, including any instruction to leave a Metro vehicle or facility for safety reasons, for a violation of the Code, or following a notice of ejectment or exclusion.”
“A person who violates the Code may be immediately ejected from the Metro facility or vehicle, without refund of any fare, by an authorized Metro representative who witnesses a violation,” the Metro code further states.
After the officer told Nava that she was not complying with the “rules of the train,” Lechuga again interjected and demanded to be shown the “book” that outlined the rules he was citing.
“I’m not going to give you any space,” she told the officer. “You’re certainly not giving anyone any respect right now.”
The officer repeatedly told Lechuga to back away, but she continued to respond with defiance.
“You are picking at a minority,” she then alleged. “Yeah. Because you’re f*****g racist.”
Lechuga smirked as she began to taunt the officer.
“You’re all high on power right now because these people are watching you,” she said. “Is it the end of the month? You need to meet your f*****g quota, so you know what? This is money for you right now.”
The officer again directed Lechuga to leave the area.
“I’m not going to leave because I’m going to stand up for my people no matter what,” she declared.
She continued to taunt the officer as he waited for backup to arrive.
“Where are your rebel friends now?” Lechuga asked him.
Additional officers arrived on the scene a moment later, and took both women into custody.
“You don’t need to take me into custody,” Lechuga said, smiling and shaking her head. “Get off of me!”
In the video, Lechugo could be seen spitting in an officer's face.
“This is racism!” she declared. “This is what we are! 2018, motherf*****s like this wanna just try to act like they can do whatever they f**k they want. F**k you guys."
“You feel good? F*****g piece of s**t,” she said to one of the officers, just before she spit on him. “F**k you!”
Bryan then expressed astonishment over how many officers had responded “for two women.”
According to KTLA, Nava was arrested on suspicion of being loud and boisterous on a train, and was released.
Lechuga was arrested for suspicion of battery on a police officer for spitting on the officer. Her bail was set at $20,000.
LAPD Officer Mike Lopez said that a use-of-force investigation is underway.
Nava’s mother said that her family is hiring an attorney, and that the teen sprained her wrist during the altercation.
As the video became widely viewed, Metro CEO Phil Washington issued a statement criticizing the officer who enforced the rules set forth by his company.
“I am extremely disappointed. Our riders deserve better,” Washington said. “We want the Metro system to be a safe environment for everyone. I expect more from our law enforcement partners. This incident is still under investigation, but I want to be clear: this is not the kind of policing I want on our system.”
You can watch the LAPD officer's altercation with Nava and Lechuga in the video below: