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Man bites off part of LAPD officer’s finger during Metro altercation

Chief Michel Moore said he was “deeply disturbed by the vicious and gruesome attack” on the sergeant who was “simply conducting routine patrol of the transit line”


Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

By Libor Jany
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles police sergeant had part of a finger bitten off during a combative arrest at a Metro rail station Thursday, department officials said.

Officials said the suspect being detained also sustained minor injuries after officers used force when he resisted. Both the suspect and the sergeant were taken to area hospitals for treatment; neither was named publicly.

In a statement, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said he was “deeply disturbed by the vicious and gruesome attack” on the sergeant and his police colleagues who “were simply conducting routine patrol of the transit line.”

“We remain committed to our work each day to improve the safety of the entire transit system with dedicated patrols engaging those who pose a risk to the safety of others” the statement said.

The incident occurred around 10:15 a.m. at an unspecified Red Line station, where officers saw a man board a train while carrying drug paraphernalia, according to a police news release. The officers confronted the man and escorted him off the train, the release said. As they did so, according to the release, the man became “violent and fought with the officers,” prompting them to use force to detain him.

The suspect was later arrested on suspicion of mayhem and resisting an executive order. The Times could not immediately verify the LAPD’s account of the incident.

Two stabbings at Red Line stations in recent weeks reignited concerns about passenger safety on the system. The line runs between downtown and North Hollywood.

According to its annual crime report, Metro has seen a dramatic increase in violent crimes, with a 24% increase in aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder from 2021 to 2022. The Red Line had nearly twice as many violent crimes, 687, as the next line, Blue, the report said.

At the same time, ridership has plummeted on Metro rail in recent years. Overall commuter numbers rose 12% last year, compared with 2021, but the 57 million estimated train riders were still far below the 93 million reported in 2019, according to Metro. Ridership on the Red Line in particular was 56% of pre-pandemic levels.

Times staff writer Nathan Solis contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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