A judge has ordered the Los Angeles Police Department to dispose of photographs of legal documents that officers allegedly took during an unannounced raid on the home of a lawyer representing a prominent Black Lives Matter activist.
The attorney, Dermot Givens, said about a dozen Los Angeles police officers came to his home Tuesday and ordered him to stay outside while they executed a warrant.
When he walked back inside, Givens said he saw an officer photographing documents left on his kitchen table related to a lawsuit filed against the department on behalf of Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter.
Abdullah has alleged that officers violated her civil rights in 2020 by forcing her out of her home at gunpoint after receiving a false call about a hostage situation there.
The documents photographed by police contained “portions of Mr. Given’s case file and potentially attorney work product” related to Abdullah’s case, according to a request filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court asking that police destroy or return the materials and provide a copy of the document. court order used to justify the search.
On Friday, Judge Rupert Byrdsong granted that request. Givens said he had not received confirmation from the Los Angeles police or any information about the warrant as of Saturday.
A police spokesman said the department was conducting an internal investigation and declined to provide further details about the search. “This is an open criminal investigation as well as an internal affairs investigation,” spokeswoman Capt. Kelly Muniz said by phone.
According to Givens, police said they were responding to a GPS tracker located near his home as part of the search for a young man named Tyler. After surrounding the house with guns drawn, officers in tactical gear “ransacked” her home, she said, emptying drawers, opening her safe and searching through her briefcase.
Givens said he had lived in the home for more than two decades and did not know anyone who matched the name and description of the person police said they were looking for. The raid was first reported Friday night by the Los Angeles Times.
The lawyer alleged that it was the latest case of harassment by the LAPD for its work on behalf of clients who are suing the department. He said the police “know exactly who I am and where I live” and are lying if they say otherwise.
Givens is currently representing Abdullah in her lawsuit against the Los Angeles police over their response to a “crush incident” at her home in 2020, in which officers surrounded her home and ordered her and her children to exit through of a speaker.
She has alleged that police used the prank call, made by teenagers, as a pretext to “terrorize” her for her role in organizing protests following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020.
Los Angeles police have not commented on officers’ actions at Abdullah’s home, citing pending litigation.