Who is Antone Austin? Black LA rapper arrested instead of White man as LAPD cops thought it was 'probably' him
'The police drove to the location and literally arrested the first black male they found, and to me, that's racial profiling. That is the textbook definition of racial profiling,' Austin's attorney said
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Antone Austin was arrested by two Los Angeles Police Department officers while he was bringing in his trash cans from outside his apartment building in 2019. There is an 11-minute police bodycam video that was released as part of the federal civil rights lawsuit filed against the City of Los Angeles and the LAPD officers by Austin.
The video sees the LAPD arresting Austin after responding to a call about a restraining order violation where the accused in that case was allegedly the ex-boyfriend of Austin's neighbor. The suit alleges that Austin's civil rights were violated and that he was arrested with "excessive force." ABC 7 reported that the caller who had made the domestic violence call had not given a description of the suspect, was "vague" and also didn't give any information about an address. The dispatchers were informed that the suspect was near a restaurant called Fat Sal's, which is reportedly three blocks away from where Austin lives.
Watch the video here.
Who is Antone Austin?
Austin, 42, is a music producer. As per his IMDb page, Austin is also a rapper who was born in Detroit Michigan. He works and lives in LA and has been featured at events and music videos that feature Baby Bash, Too Short, Clyde Carson, Marcus Paulk. He also played the role of a bar Patron in the movie 'Sister Code' (2015)
Austin and his girlfriend Michelle Michlewicz (who was also arrested at the time) are being represented by Faisal Gill in the lawsuit. Gill revealed to PEOPLE, "The police drove to the location and literally arrested the first black male they found, and to me, that's racial profiling. That is the textbook definition of racial profiling." He added, "They used way too much excessive force. All they had to do was ask him a couple of questions and he would have easily answered them. They viewed him as a criminal. In their mind, he was a criminal and that's the lens in which they acted in the whole situation."
Austin, who is also known as Tone Stackz, was taken into custody along with Michlewicz on charges of "resisting" arrest on May 24, 2019, as per Los Angeles Times. The publication also reported that the Los Angeles city attorney's office representing the LAPD was not on board with the idea of the bodycam footage being released saying, that it would be, "be contrary to LAPD policy and may have a chilling effect on future LAPD investigations."
ABC7 reported that the bodycam footage shows one of the officers asking, "Is this the dude?" when they saw Austin and another replying, "probably." After approaching the producer, they "commanded" that he turn around to which Austin said to them, "I live here." The publication also reported that an officer had also admitted that he didn't have a suspect description as he continued to arrest Austin. One of the officers in the video is heard saying, "We got a call ... OK man, I don't know who I'm looking for yet ... Turn around man! What is your problem?" The publication also reported that the suspect that the cops were looking for was White and they arrested Austin, who is Black.
Michlewicz, 30, who was in the shower when she heard the commotion went to see what had happened with her bathrobe on. She was reportedly "disrobed" in the process of the scuffle and was "pushed and restrained" by the officers. More importantly, the person who had called 911 also had tried to intervene in the commotion and even told police that Austin was the wrong man. Even still, they were arrested, but the charges on them have reportedly been dropped. The couple who had been detained were released on $57,000 bail.
Speaking to ABC, the rapper said, "In your mind, you want to say to yourself, 'It happened because I'm Black,' and then you don't want to be that petty. You don't want to be that small. You don't want to really believe that people's thinking is really [on] that low of a scale. Then when you watch the footage, and you hear the guy in the car -- the girl in the 911 call told him to go to a restaurant that was three blocks away from my house."
He added, "It's crazy that they can just convince you. [They're] supposed to be the mediator there to serve, protect -- to find out what's going on. They, in their minds, are the judge and the jury ,and they're going convict you on the spot, based on what you look like ... it's really eye-opening, It changes the way I look at a lot of things."
PEOPLE reported that the lawsuit, which they have obtained, claims that Austin had "explained that his neighbor called the police and it had nothing to do with him" when the LAPD officers were commanding him. The lawsuit reads, "Police then began applying excessive force to Mr. Austin, in attempts to restrain him despite Mr. Austin's actions of compliance. Despite knowing that he was not the suspect to which they were looking for, they continued to place Mr. Austin in handcuffs and place him in the back of a police vehicle."
It adds, "During the incident on May 24, 2019, at around 3:00pm, LAPD officers continuously assaulted and placed Mr. Austin in severe apprehension of fear of bodily harm to himself and his girlfriend and assaulted Ms. Michlewicz and placed her in severe apprehension for her safety and that of her boyfriend, while subjecting Ms. Michlewicz to severe emotional distress by assaulting her loved one and disrobing her, leaving her naked in public in broad daylight." The LAPD is yet to make any statement about the incident or the footage with LAPD officer William Cooper telling PEOPLE, "We are unable to comment on any pending litigation." The lawsuit is reportedly set for a jury trial in downtown LA in October.