The lawsuit is based on an event that happened in February of this year, according to Crutchfield, who claimed to have defused a stressful situation where a fellow officer had slammed a black juvenile male’s face into a plant that resembled a cactus.
According to BET, the lawsuit cites this incident as connected to the January shooting of Charles Towns, a black man, by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officers.
A month later, police responded to a complaint involving Towns’ children, one of whom voiced justifiable frustration over his father’s death at the hands of law enforcement. After the kid and officers exchanged crude remarks, one officer grabbed the child and threw him face-first into a thorny plant.
A statement by Crutchfield’s attorney read, “The Pasadena Police Department (PPD) has a history of racial discrimination, racial profiling, disparities of punishment of African American employees and retaliation against officers who are whistleblowers or complain about discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.”
Crutchfield was seen lightly shoving the officer during his back and forth with another person at the site in 16-minute body cam footage released by the department in June. She felt compelled to interfere after witnessing the officer’s extreme actions.
The statement also added that “Officer Taisyn Crutchfield fortunately followed state-wide police training and intervened to de-escalate the situation. Officer Crutchfield deserved a commendation for her swift and heroic action, avoiding needless violence. Instead, she was relieved of duty and punished. Our lawsuit is about righting the wrong that Officer Crutchfield has suffered from.”
According to the LA Sentinel, Crutchfield claimed she was denied access to her personnel files and was not allowed to respond to charges.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the city told KKTV that Cructhfield’s accusations were untrue.
The representative said in a statement, “The City will vigorously defend itself in this matter and the facts will prevail. The Pasadena Police Department proudly serves the residents of Pasadena with honor and integrity, and is proud of its diversity throughout all ranks of the Department.”
Aside from her police job, Crutchfield is a nationally acclaimed NCAA track standout with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in criminology, according to BET. The aspiring beauty queen also intends to compete in the Miss Oregon competition in 2024.