A Palmdale man who called 911 for his son who was stabbed last month said L.A. County sheriff's deputies who responded to the call mistreated him, prevented his son from getting medical help and now he's the one being charged with assault. Black community leaders are rallying around Michael Ryan Curry and are asking for an investigation into the incident that they have determined is a malfeasance of justice. The father of the twenty-year-old stab victim is currently awaiting a September court date that will determine his fate.
Curry had stepped in front of an officer, he said, who was trying to question his son while he was laying on the floor bleeding. He pushed the officer back and told him to leave since he was doing nothing to help. Not right away, but sometime later that same night, Curry said officers decided to arrest him for assaulting a police officer.
The melee occurred on the night of July 20, starting out as a "hang out" date between Curry's daughter and a boyfriend who apparently did not get along with her brother. The daughter, Lauren, decided she and her boyfriend David should get something to eat and they sped off "at a very high rate of speed," according to the police report. Twenty-year-old Ryan Curry, Lauren's older brother, called David on his cell phone, saying "don't drive like that with my sister in the car."
Tension was already in the air when the couple arrived home and soon after, a fight broke out between David, who had grabbed a knife from the kitchen, and Ryan. That's when Curry, the father heard the commotion.
"My wife and I were up in our bedroom sleeping. We heard a loud noise. I heard my daughter scream," Curry recalled.
"My wife and I jumped out of the bed. We ran down stairs. I found my son and [David] fighting.
"I snatched David off of Ryan and I threw him out of the house, telling him he was never welcome in my house again.."
That was before they discovered that their son was bleeding severely from stab wounds.
"My wife gets on the phone and calls 911, telling them that my son has been stabbed and needs medical attention right away."
The paramedics didn't show up right away, so his wife had to call them again, he said. They finally heard sirens but not from an ambulance. Instead about fifteen to twenty sheriffs cars showed up, according to Curry. What he and witnesses said happened next, Black leaders, including Nation of Islam Western Regional leader, Minister Tony Muhammad are calling "typical of the relationship between law enforcement and the Black community."
"The family said to us that the young man was bleeding very badly on the carpet, couldn't hardly breathe and that the only help that was being given by your sheriff's deputy was allegedly interrogate [Ryan]," Muhammad said to sheriff's deputies during a town hall meeting about the incident.
"The mother wanted to see her son get some kind of assistance because he's bleeding. There was no urgency to get him help [by the police]. He was in no position to answer any questions, according to his mother who said he was literally gasping for air. They later found out that his lungs were punctured when he got stabbed," Muhammad explained.
"The family said there were eight to ten police cars but never an ambulance. It didn't even appear that there was any concern for the health of [the victim]. I'm a father. If I see my son bleeding to the point where… and there's no help for him I going to help him…"
In fact, according to the family the ambulance took long enough to cause them to panic. They decided to rush Ryan to the hospital themselves.
"The officers had blocked the street," Muhammad said.
"Meanwhile the father's begging the officers to move their cars because they have to get their son to the hospital. None of the officers would cooperate and the mother had to drive across neighbors' lawns to be able to get to the hospital to save their son's life…"
Curry went back into the house to get dressed and meet his family at the hospital.
"I wasn't upstairs more than a minute and a half," Curry told the Sentinel.
"I put on some shorts and my shoes and I could hear [officers] banging on the door so loud it sounded like an earthquake. I said, 'hey wait I'm coming.' and I did, I grabbed my car keys, my wallet and my cell phone and was on my way to the hospital to see my son…
"I could see out of the window of my double front door fifteen police officers with their guns drawn, yelling, cursing and threatening to bust down the front door. I had no doubt in my mind that they intended to use deadly force."
L.A. County sheriff's who have been assigned to investigate the case said they are "looking into it."
They have not denied any of the accusations but promised to do a thorough investigation.
"One thing I'm not clear on is if the father is here today," said Chief Neal B. Tyler of L.A. County's sheriff's department at the meeting.
"I apologize for any of the parts we're responsible for (cursing, abusing etc.) but Palmdale has already started looking into it."
The suspect, who stabbed Curry's son is being charged, though he told officers he did not mean to stab Ryan. Meanwhile, according to Curry, the knife with blood on it, was still on the floor of his home where the suspect left it at press time. Allegedly, this is not the first incident the African American family who lives in what is described as an "affluent" Palmdale neighborhood has had with law enforcement.
Some years before, a teenage Ryan had been playing along with White neighbors his same age, with a paint gun when someone called the police to report he had a gun. Ryan had reportedly been the only one assaulted and arrested in that incident.
"You have to understand that the relationship between law enforcement and Black Americans and Latino Americans has always been challenged, particularly when you have a law enforcement agency with predominately White officers," said Muhammad.
"African Americans usually end up on the short end of any justice. It is the history of that relationship."
Commander Cecil W. Rhambo Jr. has been assigned to supervise the investigation.