Civil rights attorney John Burris, who represented Rodney King, Tupac Shakur and the family of Oscar Grant, has joined Le’Keian Woods’ legal team this week.
Le’Keian Woods, the 24-year-old Black man who was brutally beaten by officers at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, will now have a stout attorney team that includes Burris, civil rights attorney Harry Daniels and top personal injury attorney Marwan Porter.
In a press release, Burris compared the beatings of Woods and Rodney King, saying both were striking and deeply troubling.
“More than 30 years later here we are watching another video of another unarmed Black man needlessly and viciously beaten by out of control officers while the people in charge try to excuse their actions,” Burris said. “We didn’t believe their spin in 1991 and we don’t believe it now. This video and pictures of Le’Keian Woods’ swollen face speak for themselves.”
The video, which was captured by a bystander, shows, Jacksonville officers detaining and arresting Le’Keian Woods, 24, after a traffic stop.
At least three officers can be seen holding Le’Keian Woods down with his chest to the ground and hands behind his back. Next, one of the officers lifts Woods’ head off the ground and slams it into the side of the curb.
When they finally picked him up to allow him to sit on the side of the curb, his face was visibly beaten and completely covered in blood.
Woods was charged with armed traffic of methamphetamine, armed traffic of cocaine, armed possession of a controlled substance, resisting an officer with violence and violation of probation.
The video of the incident went viral on social media and sparked national outrage including a condemnation from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office pushed back against public outrage, claiming that a portion of the video was “intentionally altered” to drive a wedge between the community and the police. Waters also released body camera footage that he claims shows his officers were justified in their violent arrest of Woods.
According to the police report, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Gang Unit was conducting undercover surveillance in the San Jose area when they came across Woods. The truck that Woods was the passenger in was pulled over by police who claimed there was suspicion of a drug deal but admitted they used the seat belt violation as justification for the stop. JSO says the vehicle kept driving “as if the occupants were looking for a place to run.”
After the truck eventually stopped, Woods allegedly jumped out of the front passenger seat and ran through an apartment complex. When officers caught Woods they tased him twice before Woods fell face-first onto the pavement. JSO then claims Woods started to “violently resist” a detective’s attempts to arrest him.
The police report states that one detective hit Woods five times in the face and once in the ribs, while another kneed him four times in the ribs and face. One of the detectives involved in the incident claims there were “unintentional knee strikes to Le’Keian’s face during the struggle.”
During a press conference in October, Harry Daniels and the team likened Woods’ arrest to a “UFC ground and pound beat down by trained professionals,” questioning if officers had the right to pull over the vehicle Woods was a passenger in, calling the department an “orchard full of bad apples.”