LAPD officer died in training intended to ‘simulate a mob,’ mother says

LOS ANGELES — An officer with the Los Angeles Police Department who died of training-induced neck injuries in May had been beaten by fellow officers during an exercise meant to “simulate a mob,” according to a wrongful-death claim filed against the city by his mother.

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Houston Tipping, 32, died May 29, three days after sustaining a spinal cord injury at the police academy in Elysian Park, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Tipping’s mother, Shirley Huffman, filed her notice of claim against the city Friday, alleging both wrongful death and civil rights violations, KABC-TV reported.

Such claims are often a precursor to lawsuits, both news outlets reported.

According to the Times, Huffman alleged in her claim that Tipping was “repeatedly struck in the head severely enough that he bled,” that the beating resulted in injuries requiring stitches and that he also suffered multiple breaks in his neck, resulting in his death.

Capt. Kelly Muniz, an LAPD spokeswoman, told the newspaper Friday that the department could not comment on the claim or the nature of the training exercise. She did, however, confirm that an internal investigation of the death has been launched to determine if lessons may be learned or whether “there are charged that need to be made.”

“It is tragic, and we’re all saddened by (Tipping’s) loss,” Muniz said.

To date, the department has acknowledged only that Tipping was injured while “grappling” with another officer and categorized his death as a horrible accident, the Times reported.

Tipping, a five-year veteran of the department, had worked as a patrol officer in the San Fernando Valley. His funeral was attended Wednesday by LAPD Chief of Police Michel Moore as well as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, according to KABC.