LOS ANGELES (NewsNation) — An attorney representing the family of a Los Angeles police officer who died during training earlier this year alleges that the victim was targeted and killed because he was investigating fellow officers.
“We have uncovered evidence that Houston Tipping may have been harmed and later died as the result of retaliation against as a whistleblower,” said Brad Gage, the attorney representing Tipping’s family.
Tipping, 32, died in May 2021. Though his death was ruled an accident, Gage alleges he was targeted because he was about to reveal information against four other officers he was investigating in connection with a gang rape.
A new report describes the fatal incident in detail, saying Tipping and a fellow officer engaged in unplanned physical combat. That unnamed officer had Tipping in a headlock when they fell to the ground.
The two landed awkwardly and tipping was unable to breathe, the report said. Tipping later died with confirmed injuries of a broken neck ribs and punctured liver.
“While the LAPD report is useful for gathering some information as to what happened, it has so many holes in it that we still believe that there is the indication of intentional conduct,” Gage said.
Gage indicated that at least one of those officers was present during the training that turned fatal.
“If there is evidence of criminal acts and revenge, that’s something that the district attorney should look at and to make the das own decision as to how to handle that best,” Gage said.
In a wrongful death suit, Tipping’s mother alleged that he was repeatedly struck in the head with so much force that he bled.
Gage questioned why there was no security footage recorded on that training day. He’s pushing for a full investigation and even wants the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to look into the matter.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore called the allegations “baseless” and “without foundation.”
As a result of Tipping’s death during LAPD training, the report makes several recommendations for improvement. That includes clearer expectations between students and instructors and mandatory safety briefings before every class.
NewsNation affiliate KTLA contributed to this report.