Ernenwein & Johnson, LLP

Los Angeles Assault - Fire Department Members Involved in 2015 Assault Take Plea Deal in Civil Court


On Halloween of 2015, a graduate student by the name of Samuel Chang, 24, was attacked by multiple members of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Chang went to his grandmother’s house in Chatsworth to pass out candy for the night that coincidentally happened to be the same block where 40 year old Los Angeles Fire Department member Eric Carpenter lived. The vicious attack lasted about six minutes and Chang sued the L.A.F.D. members that included the child star from the movie “The Sandlot” Michael Anthony Vitar, Michael Cirlin, Thomas Molnar, and Eugene Elbert for numerous charges that included assault, battery, internal infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.

The initial confrontation occurred when Carpenter, along with other men, approached Samuel Chang and asked what he was doing in the neighborhood. When Chang responded that he was merely passing out candy for his grandmother at her Chatsworth home, Carpenter abruptly asked if the candy was toxic and “laced with drugs.”

Chang immediately felt uncomfortable and pulled his phone out and started recording the men. In the video he asked the men why they were following him while pleading for help. The fire department members ended up overpowering him and tackled Chang to the ground. He was pinned and held down which caused him to sustain multiple injuries that included trauma to the brain and kidney failure as a result.

There is video that showed Chang on the ground begging them to stop and the men blatantly denied his requests and continued to hold him in a chokehold and similar physical poses. The defendants claimed that Chang was on drugs and had a weapon when they first called the police which turned out to be false.

Both Carpenter and Vitar took a plea deal on Wednesday July 26th, 2017 and plead no contest to misdemeanor assault that also resulted in six months of unpaid suspension by the Los Angeles Fire Department. Carpenter received three years of probation with 135 days of community service. Vitar and Molnar were also sentenced to three years of probation but with only 90 days of community service.
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