New reports of Los Angeles Police Department officer Houston Tipping‘s tragic and “accidental” death make it seem like he may have actually been targeted for reporting the sexual misconduct of one of his fellow officers.
The 32-year-old died from a severe spinal cord injury suffered on the job in May. Only he was serving as a bicycling instructor in the local police academy at the time — and his death was during some kind of training with other officers. His death was already the focus of some pretty serious controversy — and it just got more complicated.
Back in June, attorney Bradley Gage filed a damages claim against the PD on behalf of the deceased’s mother Shirley Huffman, who believed her son was beaten to death during a “mob simulation” exercise. According to the claim, Tipping had been beaten in the head, which caused multiple lacerations and fatal neck injuries. Seems like way too much for a training exercise, right?
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LAPD Chief Michael Moore said they’d got it wrong — that the deputy had actually died when he fell from a tremendous height while grappling with another officer, that the fall had resulted in “a catastrophic injury” to his spinal cord. Moore claims the young officer suffered no lacerations to his head — but Gage came to court in July in with MRI results from Tipping’s time in the hospital. The scans revealed the officer had multiple staples in his head due to his injury, and signed reports from medical professionals say he had spinal cord injuries, a collapsed lung, broken ribs, and liver damage consistent with a beating. Not a fall.
Yeah, it allegedly didn’t seem to align with with the chief’s story. The lawyer said to the court at the time:
“When you look at all these horrific injuries, the truth is something went seriously wrong here. I cannot fathom anything other than a severe beating.”
The death was officially ruled an accident at the time, but now Bradley has another theory: it may not have been an accident at all!
On Monday, in a video for Knock LA, the attorney insinuated Houston was targeted due to reporting a gang rape that his fellow officers took part in:
“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. 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.”
When asked if he was alleging the officer spotted at training that day was the one who hurt Tipping, he clarified:
“I cannot allege that, because I only have known facts.”
Another reporter asked Bradley why he believes this idea is even worth investigating since so much time had passed from the alleged rape in July 2021 to the officer’s death in May 2022, to which he responded:
“Opportunity, an investigation, learning of knowledge?”
TBH, we’re wondering what the hell kind of question that was. Clearly they’d need to make sure there was no hint of foul play here, considering a potential motive had just been discovered. That’s police 101.
You can see the footage for yourself (below):
*CW: Sexual Assault
The lawyer for Houston Tipping, killed during an LAPD training exercise, was involved the investigation of a rape by four LAPD officers. According to Gage, one of those officers was directly involved in the beating.
— Sean Beckner-Carmitchel (@ACatWithNews) October 3, 2022
Pretty eyebrow-raising stuff. Enough that Gage and the deceased officer’s family are bringing it back up now, amid their legal battle with the LAPD.
The department allegedly grouping up to protect each other from crimes, with the old “thin blue line” isn’t new — it’s been around for a long time. In fact, in July when everyone was speculating Tipping’s death, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s former chief of staff publicly admitted he’d once belonged to the alleged “Grim Reaper” deputy gang within the county sheriff’s department. How much of this is factual? We may never know. But it’s definitely an interesting wrinkle…
Thoughts, Perezcious readers?
[Image via Twitter/Los Angeles Police Protective League]