Disturbing footage of a former police officer racially harassing a young black motorist has gone viral this week. In the video, former LAPD detective John Motto can apparently be seen shouting racial slurs at the young man following a traffic incident. Now, his former employers are denouncing him as city officials prepare to review hundreds of cases involving the former officer.
Twitter user @WhatsUpSCV posted footage of the Santa Clarita, California encounter on March 15. The video begins as Motto and the young man face off on the side of the road next to their parked vehicles.
“Oh, but you can say n****r and I can’t?” Motto says on the tape, as an unidentified woman tries to restrain him. As the young man turns his back on him, Motto continues to use racial epithets. “Go back into your little cage until the monkey controller gets here,” he says.
Incident in Valencia from this weekend where man is seen using racial slurs after a car accident. pic.twitter.com/ddHcYIWp8Q— What’s Up SCV (@whatsupscv) March 16, 2021
As the video continues, Motto tries to make the driver show identification, threatening to call police if he doesn’t.
Uriel Barraza recorded the video while on his lunch break on Saturday, March 13. According to Barraza, the younger motorist had been trying to pull over following a traffic accident when Motto pulled close to him.
“[Motto] pulled up next to him, screamed at him then pulled up forward, parked in front of him, got out of the [truck] and just started going off on him,” Barraza told L.A. Taco.
While he wasn’t sure whether Motto’s truck was involved in the initial accident, Barraza said he saw no damage on the vehicle.
The LAPD Responds
LAPD Officer Drake Madison confirmed Motto’s identity to L.A. Taco. However, he said that since Motto retired from the force in 2020, the department has no power to reprimand him.
“As a former employee, he is no longer subject to disciplinary action by the department,” Madison said.
However, a statement issued by the department on Tuesday, March 16 indicated they would investigate “to ensure there is no current Department nexus to this incident.”
“What is seen in the video is not reflective of the thousands of hard working and dedicated men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department,” the statement continued.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced that they would be reviewing 370 cases that involved Motto during his policing tenure.
“We are in the process of notifying defense attorneys in such cases,” District Attorney George Gascon said, according to Newsweek.