Black Driver For ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Wrongfully Arrested On Set Files $20M Lawsuit Against LAPD
A Black driver working for ABC’s acclaimed medical drama Grey’s Anatomy was wrongfully arrested at gunpoint in front of cast and crew members in March 2021.
According to CBS Los Angeles, 31-year-old Ernest Simon Jr. is suing the city of Los Angeles and LAPD for $20 million in damages after being racially-profiled at a traffic stop and having a gun pulled out at him during the wrongful arrest.
Per the law firm representing Simon, Larson LLP, LAPD pulled over the production driver believing he was driving a stolen vehicle while he was on the job. Simon drove a rented Ford production van, dropping off cast and crew for an on-location shoot in Tarzana. According to the lawsuit, after being pulled over, officers ran a license plate check on the production van, mistakenly matching it to a stolen BMW sedan.
The civil complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California on Thursday, alleges he was made to “lie prone on an asphalt lot at gunpoint for over 20 minutes, using an overwhelming and unjustified show of force against Mr. Simon that caused him to legitimately (and understandably) fear that he was going to be shot at his workplace in front of his co-workers for simply being a Black man in the wrong neighborhood.”
Although the Grey’s staffer was completely cooperative throughout the whole ordeal, multiple squad cars pulled up for backup and he was double-handcuffed, states the 34-page complaint.
It wasn’t until a white crewmember confirmed Simon’s identity that LAPD let him go, after ignoring fellow Black crewmembers and a Black production security guard’s pleas for his release.
The $20 million lawsuit alleges excessive force, unreasonable search and seizure, de facto arrest without probable cause, racial profiling, assault, and false arrest and false imprisonment, reports Rolling Stone.
Defendants named in the lawsuit consist of the LAPD, the city of L.A., and LAPD Chief Michel Moore. The LAPD has yet to comment on the incident.