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911 caller says woman hit by deputy was 'trying to pick a fight'

January 11, 2012 |  7:08 pm

Frame from videotape of the incident on a Metro bus

A woman riding a Metro bus who was struck in the face by a sheriff’s deputy was described as being both violent and verbally abusive by a fellow bus rider who placed a 911 call to authorities.

The emergency call was made before a pair of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies approached the woman. A video of the exchange shows that a male deputy appears to hit the woman in the left side of the face with either his hand or elbow.

Listen to the audio:

In the 911 call, the witness said the woman was "trying to pick a fight with everyone" and had nearly hit an elderly man.

The man who recorded the video told NBC-TV Channel 4 that the woman was polite and friendly toward the other passengers as she boarded the bus. He said she started cursing at the deputies when they asked her to get off.

Authorities said the deputies boarded the bus in Bellflower on Monday night after somebody called 911 to report an out-of-control woman. Deputies knew the woman and were aware that she had four prior convictions for assaulting a police officer, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

VIDEO: Recording of clash on bus

On Wednesday, Sheriff Lee Baca said the deputy will be held accountable for his actions, but stopped short of saying he should be disciplined.

"If the individual deputy who swung an elbow at the lady is looking at that as a sensible solution, we need to retrain that individual," Baca told Ed Mertz of KNX-AM (1070) in an interview Wednesday.


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Photo: Frame from videotape of the incident on a Metro bus. Credit: KNBC-TV Channel 4