A man from Riverside filed a $10 million lawsuit against the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department last week, claiming he was beaten unconscious by a deputy after an altercation at the Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Valley View Center.
The incident that prompted the lawsuit occurred on July 12 when the man, Jovan Jimenez, got involved in a disagreement with another resort guest. According to a press release from his attorney Jerry Steering, Jimenez was arrested for simple battery, and then made an unknown remark to the deputy.
“Mr. Jimenez made a rude comment to one of the arresting deputies that resulted in a handcuffed Jovan Jimenez being grabbed by his throat, slammed into the hallway wall…and struck on top of his head with an aluminum police flashlight,” Steering said. “Mr. Jimenez was knocked unconscious and suffered a serious head injury.”
According to Steering, this case is one of many in recent years, highlighting the police force’s continuous abuse of power.
“This perversion of justice, by criminally prosecuting the victims of police abuse takes place in every county in California, everyday,” Steering said in the press release. “This is routine.”
In the same release statement, Steering cited California statute PC 148(a)(1) as giving state authorities the power to retaliate against civilians such as Jimenez without worry of reprisal.
“They [intended to charge Jimenez] with the most abused criminal statute in California,” Steering stated.
Section 148(a)(1) states that “every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer … in the discharge … [of] any duty … shall be punished by a fine … or by imprisonment.”
However, Jimenez was not found to be in immediate violation of PC 148(a)(1). Steering shared security footage that captured the entire incident with local news sources, claiming that the footage provided evidence that prevented a violation.
“[Jimenez] would have been charged with violation of Section 148(a)(1),” Steering said. “Luckily for him, it was recorded.”
Deputy Jeffrey Cruz is the officer in question. The UCSD Guardian contacted the Sheriff’s Department for comments regarding the incident, but officials declined to comment. County officials have a month to respond to the lawsuit.
Jimenez’s lawsuit comes after a spate of recent events that have been perceived as flagrant abuses of police authority by citizens and activist groups.
Last week, a 43-year-old woman filed a lawsuit against two officers she claimed used excessive force against her in 2013. The event, which was also caught on camera, showed one officer pinning her to the ground and the second officer punching her in the face.
Last month, the local activist organization United Against Police Terror: San Diego received hate mail containing obscene language from an IP address that traced back to the County Sheriff’s Department. As of now, the department is performing an internal investigation into the matter, according to a statement issued by activist Cat Mendonca.
UAPTSD will be holding a rally on Oct. 22 as part of the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality.
According to the statistics compiled by the organization Cop Crisis, the last time the Department of Justice compiled a national report on police misconduct in 2001, 95 percent of all law enforcement agencies in the country saw a decline in the number of misconduct incidents.
This article has been updated to reflect the following correction: Previously, Cat Mendonca was misidentified as a spokeswoman for the police department. Ms. Mendonca is a local activist who received hate mail from an IP address that was traced back to the County Sheriff’s Department.