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Lawsuit filed against CPD officers

EXCESSIVE FORCE

Lawsuit filed against Chico police officers

By Jake Hutchison

CHICO >> An excessive force civil lawsuit naming three Chico Police Department officers was filed in federal court in early June, prompting an internal investigation. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California with a demand for a jury trial, cites the plaintiff as a minor who claims excessive force was used on her during her detainment. The defendants cited in the filing are officers Mark Bass, Juan Valencia and Jose Mata. According to the initial filing on June 5, the officers in question were investigating reports of a woman with juveniles in her vehicle shouting racial slurs. The vehicle reported was a dark blue Ford. The juvenile plaintiff, called L.R. in the filing, was driving with her friends when they were pulled over on Nord Avenue. One officer allegedly asked L.R. what they were doing while driving late at night. The filing said the passenger, Ramon Cortez, was asked to step out of the vehicle. At that point, three additional patrol cars arrived at the scene, according to the document. The officers allegedly would not allow Cortez to call L.R.’s parents and told L.R. she was being pulled over for not using her blinker and for shouting racial slurs. L.R. eventually called her mother, Kona Rush, who arrived at the scene at which point L.R. walked toward her mom’s vehicle but was yelled at by Bass who asked L.R. to remain where she was. The excessive force cited was that Bass allegedly twisted her arms behind her back, one of which had recently been broken and had metal pins and a plate from surgery. The filing said Bass grabbed harder when she warned him of the recent injury and eventually kicked her legs out from under her and “pushed her to the floor with significant force.”“L.R. asked defendant Bass and another officer if they could loosen the cuffs because the handcuffs were hurting her injured arm and hand,” the document states before going on to say the officers refused to loosen the cuffs and told L.R. “they didn’t care,” and that she would be checked on at the hospital. The filing claims that the officers violated L.R.’s Fourth Amendment rights with the use of excessive force and therefore the plaintiff is asking for punitive damages. It goes on to claim that the city has previously employed officers with histories of abusing their authority. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said no criminal charges have been sent to his office as of Monday but can’t speak for civil cases. Chico Police Department Public Information Officer Kelly DeLeon said the department’s policy is to not comment on ongoing litigation and would not comment on whether any of the officers are on leave as a result of the incident or lawsuit. City of Chico attorney Vincent Ewing did not respond by the deadline when asked to comment on the matter. Attorneys for the plaintiff did not respond to attempts to contact the

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