Officer who suspiciously died during training was investigating fellow cop for rape, attorney claims

Attorneys for the family of a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer killed during a training exercise say he may have been killed by a fellow officer he was investigating in a gang rape case.

Houston Tipping, 32, sustained a spinal cord injury during a bicycle training exercise in May from which he would not recover. His family is now suing the LAPD for wrongful death.

“I’m certainly alleging that at least one officer engaged in an abuse of force in order to try and scare or harm Officer Tipping in order to prevent him from investigating a claim of rape,” attorney Bradley Gage said at a press conference.

Tipping had taken the initial incident report of the alleged rape which involved four officers and took place in July 2021. One of those officers participated in the training exercise, Gage said.

Although it “was supposed to be bicycle training,” the exercise ended up including a “grappling exercise” that the LAPD said killed Tipping, Gage said.

Medical records show that Tipping may have been dropped on his head, but both his mother, Shirley Huffman, and Gage said in the complaint that her son was beaten to death during a scenario meant to “simulate a mob” attack.

A county medical examiner’s report suggested that Tipping’s injuries were sustained as a result of the attempts to save his life.

“Officer Tipping did not sustain any laceration to the head” and “was also not struck or beaten during this training session,” Police Chief Michel Moore told the LAPD Board of Police Commissioners in June. “He did grapple with another officer, and both fell to the ground, resulting in a catastrophic injury to his spinal cord.”

Gage said that the officer suffered three broken ribs, a lacerated liver, head injuries and a broken neck; none of which, he claims, could have been the result of grappling as part of a training exercise.

“He had subdural hematomas at three places on the left side and three places on the right side. There is no way that grappling would have caused those injuries the way the LAPD portrayed it,” the attorney said.

He reminded the media of the sexual assault case that he believes is the root of the alleged killing.

“In July 2021, four police officers were involved in the sexual assault of a woman in the Los Angeles area,” Gage said. “A report was taken by officer Tipping, and I’ve seen that report … the female victim claimed that she was raped by four different people, all LAPD officers.”

He further alleges that the identity of one of the accused officers seems to “correlate with one of the officers that was at the bicycle training.” Although he could not confirm that the officer in question was indeed the one who may have hurt Tipping, Gage said, “our investigation indicates that yes, it was.”

He told reporters, “murder is what occurred.”

The LAPD claims Tipping fell during the exercise and was given CPR by other officers. Los Angeles Fire Department rescue crews were summoned, and Tipping was rushed to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries.

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