Corona, CA: Corona man, city square off over police altercation

A Corona man and the city have sued each other in connection with an altercation during which, the lawsuits say, the man was bitten by a police dog and the man broke a police officer's hand.

A judge in Superior Court in Riverside has ordered mediation. Both sides are preparing their cases, and a hearing on the attempt to resolve the dispute has been scheduled for June.

Theodore Bracamontes, 24, alleged negligence, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false arrest and false imprisonment. The city, in its countersuit, said it had to pay for Officer Edward Tizcareno's medical bills and overtime to officers who filled in for him.

Neither side said how much money it wants.

Bracamontes' lawsuit gave this account:

On Nov. 6, 2009, Bracamontes had an altercation with other men after leaving Alibi, a bar/restaurant at the Dos Lagos shopping center. As police dispersed the crowd, Tizcareno "violently grabbed" Bracamontes by an arm. He shouted at the officer to let him go, but Tizcareno threw him down.

Next, the complaint said, after Tizcareno put his foot on Bracamontes' back and Officer Chris Espinoza handcuffed him, officers kicked Bracamontes, even though he was not resisting. Officer Jeff Bennett's dog, Marko, then bit Bracamontes on his shoulder. Bracamontes was then taken to a hospital.

The city, the officers and Police Chief Richard Madory submitted a response that said that the force used was "reasonable and necessary" and that any injuries Bracamontes suffered were as a result of him resisting.

The countersuit said Bracamontes "violently assaulted and battered" Tizcareno and committed the crimes of resisting an executive officer, resisting a peace officer, assault and battery.

Bracamontes was charged with assault and resisting a peace officer, but the assault charge was dismissed. He was convicted of resisting and was sentenced to 40 days in jail to be served on weekends and three years probation, court records say.

Bracamontes' attorney, Samer Abbas, said he doubted prosecutors could have proved that Bracamontes broke the officer's hand.

"The assault and battery filed against him was used to intimidate him, because he never assaulted an officer that day," Abbas said in a phone interview.

Corona is also defending itself against an unrelated lawsuit in which a motorist alleges that police used excessive force against him during a traffic stop.

"The city of Corona has received both claims," Madory said in an e-mail. "We as a Police Department, and as the city as a whole, take these claims very seriously and each one is looked into thoroughly. Both of these claims have been denied. Unfortunately, due to pending litigation, we are unable to discuss any further details involving either matter."

No comments: