Los Angeles, CA – The mother of a 32-year-old Los Angeles police officer is suing the city after her son died from fatal neck injuries he suffered last month while participating in a training exercise intended to “simulate a mob.”
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said Officer Houston Tipping was participating in a grappling exercise with a fellow officer at the Elysian Park Academy on May 26 when he fell to the ground, resulting in a “catastrophic spinal injury,” according to KABC.
Additional officers immediately began CPR before Officer Tipping was rushed to L.A. County-USC Medical Center in Boyle Heights, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The five-year LAPD veteran remained hospitalized until he succumbed to his injuries on May 29, according to KABC.
“Tragedy struck & we have lost one of our own to a training accident that occurred this past Thursday at our Elysian Park Academy,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore tweeted on May 29. “Despite the valiant efforts of his classmates and the medical staff at USCMD, Officer Houston Tipping could not recover.”
Chief Moore said Officer Tipping was an “uplifting young man with a full life in front of him.”
The officer, who worked as a patrol officer in the LAPD’s Devonshire Division, was also an organ donor, according to KTLA.
We mourn the loss of Police Officer II Houston Ryan Tipping, a five-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, assigned to Devonshire Division. On behalf of Communications Division we thank you for all of your hard work, commitment, and sacrifice. You are EOW KMA 367 💙💛 pic.twitter.com/EBqRBJYdeE— LAPD Communications Division (@911LAPD) June 23, 2022
Officer Tipping was laid to rest on June 22 during a large ceremony attended by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chief Moore, and numerous LAPD leaders, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Two days later, Shirley Huffman, the officer’s mother, filed a notice of claim against the city.
Huffman’s claim alleged her son was severely beaten during a training exercise intended to “simulate a mob,” and that he was “repeatedly struck in the head severely enough that he bled,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
In addition to needing stitches for the lacerations he suffered, Officer Tipping’s neck was also broken in multiple places, according to the claim.
Huffman said her son died as a result of those breaks.
She said other officers had been hurt during the same training module in the past and that the exercise “had already been questioned” due to those concerns, according to the Los Angeles Times.
🔹 Blessed Are The Peacemakers 🔹— United Federation LEOS-PBA (@LeosPba) June 21, 2022
Police Officer Houston Tipping
Los Angeles Police Department, California
EOW: Sunday, May 29, 2022#EnoughIsEnough #OfficerDown #EOW #ThinBlueLine #Leospba #LawEnforcement pic.twitter.com/dKzn4Z5T56
The LAPD has provided few details about Officer Tipping’s death.
LAPD Captain Kelly Muniz confirmed on Friday that the department opened an investigation into the incident in order to help determine whether or not “there are any changes to be made” to the training, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“It is tragic and we’re all saddened by his loss,” Capt. Muniz told the paper.
Huffman’s claim alleged assault and battery, wrongful death, and other civil rights violations, the Los Angeles Times reported.
She has requested punitive damages, as well as unspecified financial compensation.
According to her attorney, Bradley Gage, Officer Tipping suffered injuries to four vertebrae and two areas of his head, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The names of Officer Tipping’s fellow officers who were allegedly involved in his death have not been released.
“Chief Moore stated that Officer Tipping impressed his peers with a ‘willingness to go the extra mile to make the world a better place,’” Huffman’s claim stated. “Yet, that wasn’t enough to avoid other officers paralyzing him and eventually killing him in violation of law, and his civil rights.”
Officer Tipping leaves behind his girlfriend, Britney, and his parents.