Malibu Surfside News 041218
6 | April 12, 2018 | Malibu surfside news News malibusurfsidenews.com Malibu man files complaint against sheriffs Cusumano claims ‘excessive force’ was used in March 2 incident in Malibu Missing Malibu Creek State Park hiker is found More than 100 officials, volunteers aid in efforts Lauren Coughlin, Editor Michael Tanner Cusumano, 23, of Malibu, was handcuffed and had guns pointed at him during a March 2 case of mistaken identity. Image Submitted When 23-year-old Michael Tanner Cusumano called the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station on March 2, he never anticipated that he’d end up in handcuffs in the back of one of their squad cars. And he certainly didn’t expect officers to point their guns at him despite what appears to be his full cooperation, based on Cusumano’s account as well as video surveillance of the incident which was provided to the Surfside News. “I was terrified,” Cusumano said. “I had no idea what they wanted from me. I had no idea what I was being accused of.” The incident, which was reportedly a case of mistaken identity, has led to a formal complaint which was filed with the City of Malibu on March 13. And, for Cusumano, who said he no longer feels safe in Malibu, it’s reportedly led to visits to a psychiatrist as well as repeated nightmares of being shot. “As a result of LASD’s intentional actions, the victim has suffered, and continues to suffer, substantial physical pain to his wrists and extreme emotional and physical distress, including, but not limited to, nervousness, sleeplessness, anxiety, worry, shock, humiliation, and indignity,” the formal complaint, filed by attorneys Mark D. Baute and Bryan D. Roth, states. Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station Capt. Joshua W. Thai confirmed that the station was aware of the concerns regarding the incident. “Deputies received information from a victim who said she was following a burglary suspect,” Thai said in a written statement provided to the Surfside. “The burglary suspect had just stolen a registered firearm and other items from a vehicle parked in front of the victim’s business. Deputies followed protocol and conducted a high-risk traffic stop of the vehicle and detained the driver. “Subsequently, it was determined the driver of the subject vehicle was not involved in the burglary. The driver was released without incident. We believe all Sheriff’s Department policies and protocols were followed during the incident.” The evening of Cusumano said he had dinner with a friend at Little Beach House and departed around 9 p.m., heading toward his Malibu home on Pacific Coast Highway. As he was passing Pepperdine, he noticed another car on the road was acting strangely. At first it was driving slowly in front of him, he said, and when he passed it, the driver reportedly started flashing their high beams. So, he decided to make an abrupt U- turn near Ramirez Canyon Road, he said, and the other car followed suit. “I thought ‘OK, I’m being followed. This is not normal,’” Cusumano said. “And that’s when I called 911 for help.” The operator reportedly told Cusumano that police were on the other line with the driver of the other car, and said that the caller believed Cusumano to be a suspect in a crime. The man on the phone, of which the Surfside has a recording, declined to say what the crime was but asked Cusumano if he could meet deputies in a safe place. Cusumano chose the 76 gas station at 26101 PCH, and waited in his Maserati for authorities to arrive. Soon, there were three cop cars behind him. Cusumano adds that a helicopter was also shining its spotlight on him. “Every single officer had a gun pointed on me,” said Cusumano, who said he has never been in trouble with the police. Footage shows at least two officers pointing their guns at Cusumano as he lifts his shirt, gets on his knees, and puts his hands behind his head. He is then handcuffed and put in the back of one of the cars. “They just picked me up, threw me in the back of the cop car and I just honestly felt like a criminal,” said Cusumano, who said that police also would not tell him what he was being charged with. With Cusumano in handcuffs, three officers again raise their guns and approach the car, which they then search. A man in plain clothing is later seen looking into the vehicle as well. Eventually, Cusumano was released without being charged. In his follow-up interactions with police, Cusumano said he has been told that police followed policy. “They’re saying this is standard operating procedure,” Cusumano said. “It shouldn’t be. There’s no reason they need to act this way.” Detective Tom Lewis, who sheriff’s station staff identified as being in charge of the incident, did not return the Surfside’s calls for comment or clarification. Officials from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, California State Parks, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team, Altadena Mountain Rescue Team Mountain Bike Unit, and LACounty Search Dogs aided in a days-long search for a missing hiker, who was rescued from Malibu Creek State Park on April 4 after being reported missing on April 1. Malibu Search and Rescue states that three helicopters were used, and rescuers worked past midnight each night. Photo Courtesy Malibu Search and Rescue Imagine From Page 4 “[Yoga has] been a huge part of my own healing process from my own trauma when I was a teenager,” Backman said, sharing that she was given a date rape drug by someone she knew when she was 14. “I didn’t really address it and deal with it for probably a good decade or so, and it was when I discovered yoga and started making that part of my life and realizing the healing benefits of yoga that I started processing it.” Ultimately, her painful experience led to her drive to help others who have been victims of injustices. So, when she came across an article on Unlikely Heores in LA Yoga Magazine, she couldn’t bring herself to turn the page — and it sat open on her coffee table. “I looked at it every day to try and figure out if there was some way I could support them,” she recalled. One article led to a Facebook message, which led to a festival and, today, Backman has hundreds of allies in her mission to support the cause. It’s easy if you try.
malibusurfsidenews.com News Malibu surfside news | April 12, 2018 | 7 City, Caltrans share PCH construction updates Submitted by the City of Malibu In advance of the moratorium on non-emergency construction lane closures between Memorial Day and Labor Day to alleviate summertime traffic congestion, the California Department of Transportation is working to complete several projects on Pacific Coast Highway. Caltrans and the City of Malibu remind residents to anticipate intermittent daytime and overnight lane closures along portions of PCH for construction activities. The following projects began in March, and are expected to continue until Memorial Day: News Briefs California sees small year-over-year decrease in human trafficking reports Since 2007, 6,762 cases of human trafficking in California have been reported to Polaris, which works to combat and eradicate human trafficking, according to the most recent data available. In 2017, 1,331 cases of human trafficking in California were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373- 7888) and the BeFree Textline (233733), according to the nonprofit. Twenty-six were reported via text while 1,305 were called in to the hotline. For the cases in which demographics were provided, the majority of 2017 victims in California were adults (848 adults vs. 378 minors). A total of 1,162 females • PCH at Cross Creek Road and Webb Way: There will be alternating lane closures in both directions, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m., and 8 p.m.-6 a.m. • Additional work is scheduled at the intersection of Webb Way/Stuart Ranch Road and Civic Center Way beginning in mid-April, and will include lane closures on those streets from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. • The work is for traffic improvements that will realign PCH to accommodate turn lanes, and update traffic signals, crosswalks, curb ramps and sidewalks in the Civic Center area. • PCH at Malibu Canyon: Contractors are installing a new traffic signal pole and controller cabinet. Stop were victimized, compared to 128 males and 12 gender minorities. Further, 339 were U.S. citizens while 201 were identified as being foreign national residents. Sex trafficking cases were the most frequent, with 1,009 cases in 2017. Another 167 labor trafficking cases were reported last year. Other cases were either not specified, or were a combination of sex and labor trafficking. In 2016, 1,353 human trafficking cases were reported in the state. On a broader scale, 8,759 cases were reported across the U.S. in 2017 — a 13-percent jump from the prior year. “Based on the reports and tips made to the National Hotline by survivors, family members, community members, and others, Polaris was able to identify 4,863 suspected traffickers signs will be in place to allow traffic to pass through the four-way intersection of PCH and Malibu Canyon Road. • PCH east of Malibu Pier: The southbound No. 2 lane will be closed intermittently from 9 a.m-3 p.m. • A new pedestrian signal is being installed on PCH by contractors working for the Malibu Beach Inn to improve safety for pedestrians crossing PCH to access the Pier and beach. This is not a City of Malibu or Caltrans project. The work was mandated by the California Coastal Commission and permitted by Caltrans. All closures are weatherpermitting and subject to change. The City has requested or people likely exploiting victims [in 2017],” the organization stated in a press release last month. “Analysis also found 1,698 suspicious businesses that were described as facilitating potential human trafficking reported to the National Hotline. Based on the information provided and consent from the individual providing information, the National Hotline reported 2,910 cases to law enforcement.” The total number of cases reported to Polaris since 2007 has reached 40,987. “The data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline is one of the largest data sets on human trafficking for the United States,” the release said. News Briefs are compiled by Editor Lauren Coughlin, lauren@malibusurfsidenews. com. that Caltrans conduct work requiring lane closures at night whenever possible to alleviate traffic disruptions. Some work cannot be conducted at night due to material deliveries. 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Caltrans is also performing slope stabilization work during the day on both sides of PCH between Sea Vista Drive and Via Escondido Roadway. There are no lane closures, and cyclists will continue to have access. Due to this work, the speed limit on PCH is 30 miles per hour between Meadows Court and Latigo Canyon Road. Traffic fines Please see Data, 10