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Coroner rules LAPD officer who died during training exercise an ‘accident’ – Daily News

The Los Angeles County Coroner has determined that the death of LAPD Officer Houston Tipping was an accident, an apparent contradiction to a claim by the man’s family that Tipping was beaten repeatedly by other officers.

Tipping, 32, who served in the Devonshire Division of the LAPD, died May 29, three days after a department training exercise resulted in a spinal cord injury.

When the department announced the officer’s death, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Tipping was working as a bike instructor engaged in a scenario that involved grappling with another officer. Tipping fell to the floor and suffered the injury. Officers on scene performed CPR before he was transported to a local hospital where surgery was performed on his neck.

He ultimately died from complications of the spinal cord injury and the death was ruled an accident, the autopsy report said.

“These deaths occur during organized sports or organized exercises in which the participants are consensual to committing potentially harmful acts and accept the inherent risks,” Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Lawrence Nguyen said in the opinion section of the report to explain the determination.

Tipping’s family attorney filed a damages claim on behalf of Tipping’s mother who alleged during the training exercise her son “was repeatedly struck in the head, severely enough that he bled and required stitches.” The litigation is pending.

Bradley Gage, an attorney for the family, has said that he didn’t believe that Tipping was a casualty of an accident. A legal complaint alleges that Tipping “was the victim of intentional acts” during the training exercise.

The complaint describes a beating so severe that Tipping’s neck was broken at different vertebral levels. “I don’t understand how he could have all the different types of serious injuries that he had — except for being beaten to death,” Gage said in a recent interview with the Daily News. “It’s just impossible. It’s just too many.”

The coroner’s report states a laceration on Tipping’s scalp was related to a clamp placed during surgery and the rib fractures found were due to the CPR measures performed.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore has also disputed the allegations made by Tipping’s family.

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