Cancer Patient Arrested by Long Beach Police Leads to $300,000 Settlement

Long Beach, California, is stuck with a $300,000 bill after three of its police officers arrested a cancer patient with “brutal force” for driving with an expired vehicle registration. 

On September 3, 2022, Johnny Jackson, who had undergone surgery for his prostate cancer the day prior, was driving home from an errand to make a copy of his doctor’s note following surgery when he noticed he was being followed by an unmarked Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) vehicle. 

According to a lawsuit filed last October, when Jackson pulled into his driveway, the LBPD vehicle parked outside his house. Jackson exited his car, holding his doctor’s note, and told the officers that he knew he had an issue with his vehicle registration. In response, the officers, who were not named in the complaint, ordered Jackson to put his hands up and approach them. As he was doing so, Jackson was additionally ordered to put his hands on his head and turn so his back was facing one officer, while a second officer approached Jackson’s front porch.

Body camera footage shows Jackson again telling the officers that he knew his vehicle registration may have been expired and that he had gotten surgery for his prostate cancer the day before. The lawsuit states that, while Jackson was speaking, “a gust of wind began blowing the Doctor’s Note off the top of his vehicle.” Jackson then told the officers that “this is actually my paperwork for my surgery yesterday,” and put one of his hands on the note to prevent it from blowing away.

In response, one of the officers rushed to grab Jackson’s arm, pinning it behind his back and telling him that he was “about to get fucked up.” 

“Listen to me, put your hands behind your back. If you resist you will get hurt,” one officer told Jackson. “If you hurt me I will sue you. I just had surgery,” Jackson replied.

Body camera footage shows the ensuing struggle, in which Jackson was pulled in multiple directions by the officers, as Jackson again told them he was recovering from surgery. The lawsuit states that one officer struck Jackson in the head in an attempted “takedown maneuver,” which he followed by kneeing Jackson in his groin three times. 

“Why are you forcing us to use force on you?” one officer asked

Eventually, Jackson was handcuffed and cited for having an expired vehicle registration and resisting arrest. Jackson sued the city and police department in October 2023, arguing that the officers engaged in excessive force and caused him multiple injuries by arresting him so violently, despite being aware of his recent surgery. 

A settlement in the case was reached in December 2023, and the staggering $300,000 value was announced last week.

“Mr. Jackson emerged victorious in his lawsuit against LBPD [which] has not only helped to restore, for Mr. Jackson, his dignity and pride,” Michael Slater, one of Jackson’s lawyers, told the Davis Vanguard. “It is also evidence that no law enforcement officer is above the same laws Mr. Jackson, and we as citizens, have untrusted them with enforcing.”

But, as Slater noted, “A civil settlement cannot, on its own, right the wrongs committed by the Long Beach Police Department against Mr. Jackson.”