Los Angeles: On January 7, 2021, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was made aware of a set of photographs that were circulating the internet depicting what was described as a hate crime incident that took place amidst a protest in front of Los Angeles City Hall. One of the photographs depicted a male white holding a female black in a, "bear hug" from behind.
Shortly after it was brought to the department's attention, LAPD Central Division Detectives were able to locate the woman, a hate crime - battery report was completed, and an investigation was initiated. Their thorough investigation determined that the male in the photographs was not an aggressor as initial social media posts had claimed.
The woman involved in the incident told investigators that the she felt a bear hug from behind and a male voice stated, "You're O.K., I'm not going to hurt you. I got your phone in my hand. I'm going to try to get you out of here, these people are trying to hurt you." The male subsequently carried her away from the hostile crowd and let her go. The woman then walked across from the south lawn area to Police Headquarters Building, where she received first aid from an unidentified person. The male depicted in the photographs appears to have been a good Samaritan, shielding and helping the woman, which she confirmed with her statements during the investigation.
The LAPD is continuing to conduct a thorough investigation, and we encourage any witnesses or those with information on the suspect(s) to contact Central Area Detectives.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Central Bureau Detectives at 213-833-3750. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may also visit www.lapdonline.org, and click on "Anonymous Web Tips" under the "Get Involved-Crime Stoppers" menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the "P3 Tips" mobile application and select the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.