Recently in Police Brutality Category

Kelly Thomas's Dad Files Orange County, California Wrongful Death Lawsuit In His Allegedly Fatal Police Beating

July 5, 2012,

One year after Kelly Thomas's death allegedly at the hands of police, his father, Frederick Ronald Thomas, is suing the city of Fullerton for damages. In his Orange County, California wrongful death claim, Frederick Ronald Thomas Jr. is alleging civil rights violations, battery, assault, and negligence. The civil lawsuit was announced today.

Kelly Thomas is the 37-year-old Fullerton homeless man suffering from schizophrenia who was beaten by six cops outside a local bus station on July 5, 2011. The officers were there to investigate a "homeless" person who had been seen peering into car windows and pulling car door handles. Kelly was shirtless and had a backpack on when the police encountered him.

The brutal assault caused him to fall into a coma and he died a few days later. A security camera at the depot recorded 16 minutes of the police officers questioning and then striking Kelly.

Also named as defendants in this Fullerton wrongful death lawsuit are police officers Jay Cicinelli, Manuel Ramos, the four other cops who participated in Kelly's beating, and ex-Fullerton police chiefs Michael Sellers and Patrick McKinley. Frederick Thomas, in his complaint, points to what he describes as the city's "long history" of looking the other way when it comes to police "abusive practices" and being "deliberately indifferent" to the constitutional rights violations that occur as a result of Fullerton's "customs, practices, and policies." He is accusing the city and its police department of negligence and blames latter for numerous alleged wrongful actions.

Following Kelly's beating, protests ensued and the police assault captured national attention.

"Many people don't realize that police brutality can be grounds for an Orange County, California personal injury case," said Fullerton excessive use of police force attorney Vincent Howard. "Even if police are apprehending you they have no right to ever use unnecessary force on you or violate your civil rights or your person."

Frederick Thomas's Fullerton wrongful death case is unrelated to the claim settled by Kelly's mom Cathy Thomas, who agreed to have the city pay her $1 million, thereby releasing it and Fullerton police from potential future claims. Frederick and Cathy are divorced.

"For some people, settling may be the best way to proceed, while for others going to court is the way to bring about the desired outcome," said Orange County, Ca. wrongful death lawyer Vincent Howard. "No two cases are alike, and you will want to work with an experienced Fullerton personal injury law firm that can help you figure this out so that you can make the decision that is ultimately in your best interests."

The civil cases are also separate from the criminal proceedings related to Kelly's beating.

Father of homeless man beaten to death sues police in California, CNN, July 5, 2012

Kelly Thomas suit cites Fullerton police 'culture of corruption', CNN, July 6, 2012


More Blog Posts:

Kelly Thomas' Mom Agrees to $1M Orange County, California Wrongful Death Settlement from the City of Fullerton Over Fatal Police Beating, California Injury Lawyers Blog, May 16, 2012

$20M California Personal Injury Claim Filed After UCSD Student is Left Handcuffed with No Food or Water for Five Days in a DEA Detention Cell, California Injury Lawyers BLog, May 3, 2012

US Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal to Protect Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca From Inmate's Personal Injury Lawsuit Over Gang Stabbing in Jail, California Injury Lawyers Blog, April 30, 2012

Continue reading "Kelly Thomas's Dad Files Orange County, California Wrongful Death Lawsuit In His Allegedly Fatal Police Beating" »

Kelly Thomas' Mom Agrees to $1M Orange County, California Wrongful Death Settlement from the City of Fullerton Over Fatal Police Beating

May 16, 2012,

Cathy Thomas, Kelly Thomas's mom, has agreed to accept a $1 million Fullerton wrongful death settlement from the city. Thomas is the 37-year-old mentally ill homeless man who died last year after an altercation with police outside the Fullerton Transportation Center. This Orange County, California civil settlement is separate from the criminal cases against police officer Manny Ramos, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree murder, and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, who is charged with excessive use of force under color of authority and involuntary manslaughter. Both men will stand trial.

In exchange for the settlement, Cathy has agreed not to pursue further damages from the city related to her son's death. The $1 million amount was suggested by a mediator.

A 33-minute video of the July 5, 2011 altercation captures Ramos putting on latex gloves and threatening to use his fists against Kelly, who police suspected of attempting to open the doors of parked cars in the vicinity. Kelly then got up, put his hands in front of him and started to walk away. That is when Ramos and another cop, Officer Joe Wolfe, started striking Kelly, who didn't appear to pose any physical threat to them with batons. Cops also allegedly used their fists and Tasered Kelly. He was beaten for eight minutes before falling into a pool of his own blood. (After falling into coma from the traumatic brain injuries he sustained during the assault, Kelly died five days later.

The assault was recorded on a cell phone and the footage later went up on YouTube. His death allegedly hands of the six cops sparked an outcry and more than 200 protestors hounded City Hall and the Fullerton Police Department for answers and action.

Wolfe and three other cops allegedly linked to the beating, Sgt. Kevin Craig, Officer Kenton Hampton, and pl. James Blatney, have not been charged. All of them are on administrative leave. Kelly's dad, Ron Thomas wants a criminal case to be filed against Wolfe. Ron is not a part of his ex-wife's Fullerton excessive use of force settlement with the city.

"Even if no criminal charges are filed against police officers that you believe were involved in your loved one's assault, you may still be able to pursue damages against them, the department, and/or the city or state," said Orange County, California police brutality attorney Vincent Howard.

Following the way Kelly's arrest was handled, questions were raised about whether Fullerton police are properly trained to deal with people suffering from mental illness. At the time of the assault, Kelly, who was schizophrenic, was not on his medication.

Homeless man's mother settles with Fullerton over his death, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2012

Homeless advocates look to change city government, SCPR.org, May 15, 2012

Hundreds gather in Fullerton for Kelly Thomas protest, ABC Local, August 6, 2011


More Blog Posts:
Fullerton Cops Accused of Orange County, California Police Brutality in Fatal Beating of Kelly Thomas, California Injury Lawyers Blog, August 13, 2011

Mentally Ill Homeless Man Beaten by Fullerton Police Died from Asphyxia, Reports Coroner, California Injury Lawyers Blog, September 21, 2011

Fullerton Cops Accused of Orange County, California Police Brutality in Fatal Beating of Kelly Thomas, California Injury Lawyers Blog, August 13, 2011

Continue reading "Kelly Thomas' Mom Agrees to $1M Orange County, California Wrongful Death Settlement from the City of Fullerton Over Fatal Police Beating" »

$20M California Personal Injury Claim Filed After UCSD Student is Left Handcuffed with No Food or Water for Five Days in a DEA Detention Cell

May 3, 2012,

California lawmakers are calling on the US Department of Justice to investigate how a 23-year-old UCSD student was accidentally left handcuffed and unattended in a Drug Enforcement Administration detention cell for five days without water or food or access to a toilet. Daniel Chong, who had to drink his own urine to stay alive, spent three days in the ICU after he was released. Chong was near kidney failure and having problems breathing by the time. Now, his attorney has filed a $20 million California personal injury claim over the violation of his civil rights and the harm that he suffered while in custody.

Chong was detained during a raid of a suspected Ecstasy distribution ring. Nine suspects, including the UCSD student, were taken to a DEA headquarters.

Chong, who was released after agents questioned him and decided not to file any criminal charges, was told he could go home. That is when the the DEA "accidentally" left him in a cell and he wasn't found until five days later-- an entire weekend and three business days.

Chong told NBC San Diego that he felt like he was going crazy and that he experienced hallucinations. He kicked at the door numerous times to get the agents' attention but to no avail even though he could hear people nearby. He even broke his glasses and tried to use it to cut his wrist and kill himself. Nurses later found glass particles in his throat. Chong described the cell as an area of space where there wasn't enough room for him to be able to spread his arms wide. The DEA has apologized to him.

Now, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is seeking a congressional probe. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wants US Attorney Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. to make sure that the DOJ looks into the incident right away.

"Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials are responsible for making sure that anyone in their custody doesn't suffer unnecessary harm," said Anaheim personal injury lawyer Vincent Howard. "Failure to uphold this duty is a violation of the person's civil rights and can be grounds for a California personal injury case if injuries, illness, or death results."

Even if you have been detained, arrested, charged, or convicted for a crime you still have certain rights. This includes making sure that you are given food and water when detained for extended periods of time. You also cannot be held without cause. Also, it is illegal for law enforcement officers to use excessive and/or unnecessary force of any kind on you.

Student forgotten in cell for 5 days will sue DEA, CNN, May 3, 2012

DEA Ignored All My Cries, Said Student, NBC San Diego, May 3, 2012

UCSD student's 5-day ordeal in DEA jail sparks outrage, anger, Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2012



More Blog Posts:

US Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal to Protect Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca From Inmate's Personal Injury Lawsuit Over Gang Stabbing in Jail, California Injury Lawyers Blog, April 30, 2012

$121M Los Angeles Wrongful Death Claim Filed Against the City Over Teenager's Fatal Shooting on the 101 by the LAPD, California Injury Lawyers Blog, April 18, 2012

Huntington Beach Police Brutality Lawsuit Alleges Inappropriate Touching, Unlawful Arrest, and Excessive Use of Force, California Injury Lawyers Blog, March 23, 2012

Continue reading "$20M California Personal Injury Claim Filed After UCSD Student is Left Handcuffed with No Food or Water for Five Days in a DEA Detention Cell " »

US Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal to Protect Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca From Inmate's Personal Injury Lawsuit Over Gang Stabbing in Jail

April 30, 2012,

The US Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from Los Angeles County that seeks to shield Sheriff Lee Baca from a California negligence lawsuit filed by an inmate who was attacked by other inmates while behind bars in 2006. The plaintiff, Dion Starr, claims that gang members stabbed him 23 times while he was at the Central Men's Jail. He also contends that a guard not only saw what happened and refused to intervene, but also that the latter kicked him in the face.

Starr is suing Baca and the deputies and guards that were at the assault scene that day for Los Angeles personal injury. He claims that a deputy even unlocked his cell door, which is how the gang inmates got to him. He says that even though Baca knew there was violence at the LA County jail after special counsel Merrick Bobb issued a report about inmate injuries and deaths (some were caused by other inmates) in 2005, the sheriff had been "deliberately indifferent" to the dangerous conditions there.

In 2008, a federal judge dismissed Starr's Los Angeles personal injury lawsuit on the grounds that the U.S. Supreme Court previously had found that top law enforcement officers cannot be held liable for subordinates' discriminatory actions and that there was no evidence to personally connect Baca to the attack. However, last year the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in this case that Starr could sue the sheriff. In a 2-1 vote, the three-judge panel said that past decisions made by the high court did not apply to the constitutional violations that Starr is alleging.

In choosing not to hear LA County's appeal, The Supreme Court did not provide comment on why.

"Just because you've been arrested or convicted of a crime doesn't mean you aren't entitled to certain protections and rights," said Howard Law, PC partner and Los Angeles police brutality lawyer Vincent Howard.

Law enforcement officers supervising a jail, prison, detention room or holding cell cannot use excessive force against you or intimidate you with verbal intimidation, emotional abuse, or sexual harassment. They also must sure that you are kept in a safe environment where you are protected from harm. They also cannot deprive you of the ability to meet your basic needs and deny you any necessary medical care.

Supreme Court rejects bid to shield Sheriff Lee Baca from lawsuit, Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2012

Read the district court's judgment from 2009 granting Baca's motion to dismiss (PDF)

Read the 9th Circuit's 2009 opinion (PDF)


More Blog Posts:
Appeals Court says Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawsuit Against County Sheriff Lee Baca Over Brutality in Jail Can Proceed, California Injury Lawyer Blog, February 12, 2011

Your initial consultation with Los Angeles excessive use of force attorney Vincent Howard is free.

$121M Los Angeles Wrongful Death Claim Filed Against the City Over Teenager's Fatal Shooting on the 101 by the LAPD, California Injury Lawyer Blog, April 18, 2012

Huntington Beach Police Brutality Lawsuit Alleges Inappropriate Touching, Unlawful Arrest, and Excessive Use of Force, California Injury Lawyer Blog, March 23, 2012

Orange County, California Wrongful Death Lawsuit Likely in Sheriff's Deputy Shooting of Camp Pendleton Marine, California Injury Lawyer Blog, February 29, 2012

Continue reading "US Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal to Protect Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca From Inmate's Personal Injury Lawsuit Over Gang Stabbing in Jail" »

$121M Los Angeles Wrongful Death Claim Filed Against the City Over Teenager's Fatal Shooting on the 101 by the LAPD

April 18, 2012,

The family of 19-year-old Abdul Arian is seeking $121 million in Los Angeles wrongful death compensation from the city. Arian was killed last week after he was shot by the LAPD on the 101 Freeway. The teenager was unarmed when the confrontation with police happened.

According to the family's claim, eight officers shot their son following a police pursuit. The cops had started chasing the vehicle that the teen was driving after they received reports that the vehicle he was in was being operated by a reckless driver. During the chase, which occurred through west San Fernando Valley, Arian contacted 911 and told the dispatcher that he had a gun and intended to hurt the law enforcement officers if they pulled their weapons on him. In fact, he did not have a weapon on him.

Arian got out of his car after stopping his vehicle across two lanes on the eastbound 101 Freeway close to Canoga Park Police claim that this was when he positioned himself in what they are describing as an "aggressive shooting stance" and pointed something at the police. The LAPD officers then opened fire.

According to Arian's family, the officers shot at least 90 rounds at the teenager. They believe less deadly force could have been used to detain him. Their attorney say that each officer shot 15 shots, which is 120 rounds, which is why they are seeking $120 million--a million dollars per bullet fired.

A family friend who saw the video shot by KTLA-TV of the deadly incident believes that Arian wasn't threatening police but actually pleading with them out of fear. Arian's uncle also believes that the teenager called 911 and said he had a gun because he was afraid of the cops.

"If the LAPD could have detained Arian without using such extreme measures of force or if they were careless or negligent in any other way when dealing with him, his family may be able to win their Los Angeles wrongful death case against the city and its police force," said Los Angeles Excessive Use of Force Attorney, Vincent Howard.

Heated situations can be very confusing for everyone involved and people may react or overreact different than in normal circumstances. Police officers know this and it is their job to carefully assess every situation and act appropriately.

"Excessive use of force is never the correct option and if there is a way to detain someone that requires less force then that is always the better choice," said Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer Vincent Howard.

Unfortunately, tragic accidents and misunderstandings can happen. However, if you are the surviving relative of someone who was killed as a result of excessive use of force, some other mistake or oversight, or police brutality, you may have reason for a lawsuit.

Usually, you have to first file a claim against the city or other government entity that you wish to sue. That party then has six months to respond and hopefully resolve your claim. Often, filing the claim is just the first step (and necessary) step before you can submit your Los Angeles injury lawsuit.


Freeway shooting victim 'wanted to be an LAPD cop,' uncle says
, Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2012

Abdul Arian, Teen Shot on Live TV by LAPD, Inspires $120 Million Legal Claim Against City, LAWeekly, April 17, 2012

Family of Teen Shot to Death by LAPD Police Files $120 Million Claim Against City of Los Angeles, NBC Southern California, April 17, 2012


More Blog Posts:
Huntington Beach Police Brutality Lawsuit Alleges Inappropriate Touching, Unlawful Arrest, and Excessive Use of Force, California Injury Lawyers Blog, March 23, 2012

11 Cops Fire Over 60 Shots As Los Angeles Police Pursuit Through Koreatown Turns Deadly, California Injury Lawyers Blog, February 24, 2012

Woman in Bar Brawl Files Orange County, California Excessive Use of Force Lawsuit Against Huntington Beach, California Injury Lawyers Blog, February 16, 2012

Continue reading "$121M Los Angeles Wrongful Death Claim Filed Against the City Over Teenager's Fatal Shooting on the 101 by the LAPD" »

Huntington Beach Police Brutality Lawsuit Alleges Inappropriate Touching, Unlawful Arrest, and Excessive Use of Force

March 23, 2012,

Two people are suing the city of Huntington Beach and its police department for Orange County, California personal injury. Eric Anderson and Nadsya James Mohoff are seeking unspecified damages for injuries they claim they sustained on September 25, 2010.

According to the two of them, police arrived at their home wanting to know who owned the Dodge Charger that was parked in the driveway. After Anderson told them that the vehicle belonged to a friend who was visiting, the officers asked to speak with this person.

Anderson contends that when he closed the door to go get the friend, the officers started pounding on it. Mohoff, unaware that Anderson had talked to the police, then opened the door. They asked her about the car but she said she was not certain about the owner. They then requested to come inside and she claims that she told them they couldn't because they had no warrant.

In their Huntington Beach personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiffs say that the police grabbed Mohoff with force, threw her onto the ground, placed body weight on her, and forced her arms behind her back before cuffing her. She also claims that one of the cops went under her skirt, "making contact with her genitalia." Anderson, who had by then come into the room, was also allegedly thrown onto the ground and handcuffed.

Charges that were filed against Anderson for battery on a peace officer and resisting a peace or public officer have since been dismissed, as were the charges against Mohoff for resisting a public or peace officers.

Orange County, California Excessive Use of Force
"Police violence is behavior that cannot be tolerated," said Howard Law, PC Founder and Huntington Beach Police Brutality Attorney Vincent Howard. "Unfortunately, many people don't realize that something wrong has been done to them when they have been on the receiving end of this type of inappropriate behavior or that their rights have been violated."

Some people may also be too scared to come forward because they don't want attention placed on a previous criminal record, or, if they are engaged in some kind of illegal activity, they are worried that their wrongdoing might be discovered. People who are in this country illegally may also be too afraid to report that they have been the victims of that have been victims of Orange County, California police brutality for fear of being deported.

There are specific protocols and procedures that law enforcement officials must follow. This includes refraining from using unnecessary force unless warranted. Even if the officer wasn't acting maliciously when exerting excessive force, this conduct is inappropriate and may constitute a violation of your civil rights. Sexual assault or inappropriate sexual touching of any type is also not acceptable behavior.

"Unfortunately, many people are intimidated by law enforcement officers and the authority they wield," said Huntington Beach Personal Injury Attorney Vincent Howard.

Excessive force, touching alleged in suit vs. H.B. police, The OC Register, March 23, 2012


More Blog Posts:

11 Cops Fire Over 60 Shots As Los Angeles Police Pursuit Through Koreatown Turns Deadly, California Injury Lawyers Blog, February 24, 2012

Woman in Bar Brawl Files Orange County, California Excessive Use of Force Lawsuit Against Huntington Beach, California Injury Lawyers Blog, February 16, 2012

Another Two Inmates Sentenced for Fatally Beating Inmate at an Orange County, California Jail, California Injury Lawyers Blog, January 27, 2012


Continue reading "Huntington Beach Police Brutality Lawsuit Alleges Inappropriate Touching, Unlawful Arrest, and Excessive Use of Force" »

Orange County, California Wrongful Death Lawsuit Likely in Sheriff's Deputy Shooting of Camp Pendleton Marine

February 29, 2012,

The family of Sgt. Manual Loggins, Jr. is expected to file an Orange County, California wrongful death claim, which will likely include allegations of civil rights violations, shortly. This type of claim is generally a precursor to a lawsuit.

Loggins, Jr., a Camp Pendleton marine, was shot by Orange County Sheriff's Department Deputy Darren Sandberg in a San Clemente High School parking lot on February 7. At the time, Loggins was in the driver's seat of his SUV. His two daughters were in the car, too.

Sheriff's department officials claim that the 31-year-old marine drive through a high school gate, exited his vehicle, made a number of statements that were irrational, and disregarded deputies' orders as he reentered his vehicle. Although the department initially said that Sandberg shot Loggins because he feared for his life, it later said that the veteran deputy fired his weapon because he feared for the girls' safety. The Sheriff's department hasn't given out specifics as to what Loggins allegedly said prior to being shot or what made Sandberg afraid for the kids.

At the time of the shooting, Loggins was unarmed. The family's Los Angeles, California wrongful death lawyer says that the shooting was unjustified.

Friends said Loggins frequently took his family to the school so they could go on prayer walks. An investigation into the shooting is currently underway. However, following the deadly incident, the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs stood by Sandberg and the other deputies who were at the shooting scene. Col. Nick Marino, who is Camp Pendleton's commanding officer, has expressed dismay over the way civil authorities have responded to the tragic incident. Loggins leaves behind his two daughters, a toddler, and his pregnant wife.

"Unjustified police shootings have no place in law enforcement," said Anaheim Police Brutality Attorney Vincent Howard. "It is unfortunate when such incidents happen for the consequences can be tragic."

Fortunately, even if law enforcement officials find that that no wrongdoing occurred on the part of any officers involved, victims and their families may still be able to pursue Orange County, California civil cases via the courts. "People don't realize that their civil rights have been violated when they are subject to excessive use of police force," said Anaheim Personal Injury Attorney Vincent Howard. "It is important that you not hold back from reporting the incident and speak to an Orange County, California injury law firm right away to find out about your legal options.

Even when apprehending someone, law enforcement officers must be careful to never use more force than warranted.

Lawsuit planned in deputy-involved shooting of Marine, OC Register, March 2, 2012

New Details Released in Marine's Death, NBC San Diego, February 14, 2012


More Blog Posts:

11 Cops Fire Over 60 Shots As Los Angeles Police Pursuit Through Koreatown Turns Deadly, California Injury Lawyers Blog, February 24, 2012

Woman in Bar Brawl Files Orange County, California Excessive Use of Force Lawsuit Against Huntington Beach, California Injury Lawyers Blog, February 16, 2012

Another Two Inmates Sentenced for Fatally Beating Inmate at an Orange County, California Jail, California Injury Lawyers Blog, January 27, 2012

Continue reading "Orange County, California Wrongful Death Lawsuit Likely in Sheriff's Deputy Shooting of Camp Pendleton Marine" »

11 Cops Fire Over 60 Shots As Los Angeles Police Pursuit Through Koreatown Turns Deadly

February 24, 2012,

Did Los Angeles police officers use excessive force when apprehending a suspect after a slow-speed police chase in Koreatown turned deadly yesterday? The family of this man will very likely want to know.

The fatal shooting happened on Thursday after LAPD officers chased a man accused of stealing two cars, one in San Bernardino and the other in El Sereno, California When the suspect later pulled into a Koreatown parking lot, 11 officers started shooting at him, collectively putting out over 60 shots. They say he was armed.

According to authorities, the man had pointed his weapon at gas station customers. However, even if this is true, what may come into question is whether the police officers used too much force to bring him down. If this proves to be the case, his family could have grounds for a Los Angeles wrongful death case.

"While police officers may have to use force when apprehending a suspect, they must never use more force than necessary--even in the heat of the moment," said Howard Law, PC Partner and Los Angeles police brutality attorney Vincent Howard.

The LAPD, the Police Commission's inspector general, and the district attorney's officer shooting team, will be investigating how force was used in this instance. Such probes are routine and take place anytime an officer is involved in the shooting.

However, it will be important to determine whether anyone was in danger to warrant that the officers shoot the man down. Another matter to look into is whether it was necessary for so many officers to fire at him so many times. Would even just one or two bullets from one or two officers have disarmed the suspect so he no longer posed a threat to others or himself? Could police officers have apprehended him without killing him?

"Even if the authorities don't believe that excessive use of force was involved, you still may be able to pursue Los Angeles injury damages against the police," said Los Angeles excessive use of force lawyer Vincent Howard. "A civil case is separate from any criminal proceedings and the outcome of one doesn't affect the other."

Even if the use of excessive force was accidental or brought about due to the urgency or the heat of the moment, this is not a good enough excuse for someone to get hurt. It doesn't matter whether the person is a murderer, a carjacker, or someone accused of committing any crime. Every person has civil rights that must be respected and this includes protection from too much force (the abuse of force) by police.


11 officers fired guns in Koreatown shooting death, sources say, Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2012

Armed carjacking suspect fatally shot by police in Hollywood's Koreatown, Fox News/AP, February 24, 2012


More Blog Posts:

Woman in Bar Brawl Files Orange County, California Excessive Use of Force Lawsuit Against Huntington Beach, California Injury Lawyer Blog, February 16, 2012

California Excessive Use of Force?: Angry Protestors Cry Foul Over Police's Use of Pepper Spray in UC Davis Occupy Wall Street Demonstration, California Injury Lawyer Blog, November 22, 2011

Pomona Wrongful Death Claim Seeks Damages Police Brutality Damages, California Injury Lawyer Blog, October 31, 2011

Continue reading "11 Cops Fire Over 60 Shots As Los Angeles Police Pursuit Through Koreatown Turns Deadly " »

Woman in Bar Brawl Files Orange County, California Excessive Use of Force Lawsuit Against Huntington Beach

February 16, 2012,

A woman who was involved in a bar brawl last March is suing the city of Huntington Beach for Orange County, California personal injury. Marcia Moses says she suffered emotional and physical scars when police used excessive force to break up the dispute and falsely arrested her.

Moses was outside a Main Street bar on March 26, 2011 just after 2am when she and another woman got into a pushing match. A friend of Moses joined in and hit the other woman's face.

Moses says she got hurt when police, who were called to the scene and tried to arrest her male friend, pushed her and she fell after stumbling in her heels. She says that when she got up, a cop shoved her and she fell unconscious.

In her Huntington Beach personal injury complaint, Moses says she sustained a concussion, a broken wrist, and posttraumatic syndrome from the incident. She also contends that the excessive use of force by police caused her anxiety, humiliation, and nightmares.

Moses is also suing both the cop she claims battered her and Huntington Beach police Chief Kenneth Small. She blames Small for not properly training the police officers. She claims that he failed to reprimand them after they used too much force when dealing with her.

"Police officers must never use more force than necessary when doing their job," said Howard Law, PC and Huntington Beach Personal Injury Attorney Vincent Howard.

Unfortunately, many people don't realize that their rights may have been violated because a cop or another law enforcement officer used unwarranted force when questioning, apprehending, or arresting them. "In some cases, it is a matter of unintended use of excessive force during the heat of the moment. In other instances, it is a matter of abuse of power known as police brutality. Regardless, both are unacceptable," said Orange County, California Injury Lawyer Vincent Howard.

Examples of excessive use of force or police violence include verbal abuse, making threats, blackmail, sexual abuse, sexual assault, physical force, and use of a gun or a Taser or baton on someone who is unarmed and poses no threat whatsoever. Even if the police department or the city, county, or state doesn't agree that you've been the victim of excessive use of force, you still may be able to recover Orange County, California injury damages.

Woman in bar fight sues Huntington Beach, The OC Register, February 16, 2012

Woman Tossed by Cop and Boy Who Fell Into Beach Fire Pit File Claims Against Huntington, OC Weekly, August 18, 2011


More Blog Posts:

Another Two Inmates Sentenced for Fatally Beating Inmate at an Orange County, California Jail, California Injury Lawyers Blog, January 27, 2012

California Excessive Use of Force?: Angry Protestors Cry Foul Over Police's Use of Pepper Spray in UC Davis Occupy Wall Street Demonstration, California Injury Lawyers Blog, November 22, 2011

Pomona Wrongful Death Claim Seeks Damages Police Brutality Damages, California Injury Lawyers Blog, October 31, 2011

Continue reading "Woman in Bar Brawl Files Orange County, California Excessive Use of Force Lawsuit Against Huntington Beach " »

Another Two Inmates Sentenced for Fatally Beating Inmate at an Orange County, California Jail

January 27, 2012,

Tustin resident Jared Louis Petrovich and Anaheim resident Garret Eugene Aguilar have each been sentenced sentenced to 15 years to life behind bars for the second-degree murder of fellow inmate John Chamberlain. The 41-year-old Mission Viejo software engineer was being detained at Theo Lacy Jail in Orange County, California after being charge with the misdemeanor crime of possession of child pornography when a number of inmates beat, kicked, and punched him to death on October 5, 2006. By the time deputies were notified that Chamberlain was in trouble, he had already lost consciousness and his assailants had cleaned themselves off.

Petrovich has admitted that he was the one who told the others that Chamberlain was a child molester--even though the latter was never charged with committing such crimes. Petrovich, his white prison gang, and a Latino gang were involved in the fatal assault. Each gang is accused of offering 10 commissary items to each prison inmate who took part in Chamberlain's beating.

A few other inmates have also received lengthy sentences for convictions over his death and another two are awaiting their sentences. At least other three inmates pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

"Even if you've been charged or convicted for a crime, you are entitled to certain rights and protections while in police custody or behind bars," said Howard Law, PC and Anaheim personal injury lawyer Vincent Howard.

The assault on Chamberlain was severe enough to damage all of his organs. The beating took place less than 70 feet from where a County sheriff's deputy was watching TV. There have even been questions raised over whether deputies played a part in allowing the inmates to beat Chamberlain.

In the days leading up to his death, Chamberlain had asked that he be transferred out of the jail ward because other inmates had threatened him. An investigation showed that after he was beaten, a deputy updated the log to show that he had offered to transfer Chamberlain but that he had refused. Deputies have since been accused of using excessive force on inmates. There is even footage of Tasers being used on inmates.

"If you or someone you love was the victim of excessive use of police force, it doesn't matter whether or not the use of force was intentionally intended to cause harm, your rights have been violated." said Anaheim police brutality attorney Vincent Howard.

In 2008, Orange County settled the California wrongful death lawsuit filed by Chamberlain's family for $600,000.

Prison for Stomping Mission Viejo Man Dead, Mission Viejo Patch, February 27, 2012

County pays $600,000 in jail killing, OC Register, February 7, 2008


More Blog Posts:
Pomona Wrongful Death Claim Seeks Damages Police Brutality Damages, California Injury Lawyers Blog, October 31, 2011

Mentally Ill Homeless Man Beaten by Fullerton Police Died from Asphyxia, Reports Coroner, California Injury Lawyers Blog, September 21, 2011

Fullerton Cops Accused of Orange County, California Police Brutality in Fatal Beating of Kelly Thomas, California Injury Lawyers Blog, August 13, 2011

Continue reading "Another Two Inmates Sentenced for Fatally Beating Inmate at an Orange County, California Jail " »

California Excessive Use of Force?: Angry Protestors Cry Foul Over Police's Use of Pepper Spray in UC Davis Occupy Wall Street Demonstration

November 22, 2011,

Hundreds protestors have converged onto the UC Davis Campus this week to speak out about campus police's use of pepper spray to break up a group of students that were peacefully protesting the Occupy Wall Street movement on Friday. 11 students had to be treated for pepper spray side effects.

Following the incident, UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza and two campus cops were placed on leave, while UC officials continue to investigate what happened. UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has said that although she asked police to take away the tents that were on the campus quad, she never told them to use force to make the demonstrators leave. Katehi maintains that she told the police chief to avoid violence "at all costs" and to not make any arrests.

Meantime, an attorney for the Federated University Police Officers Association claims that the police officers were only following instructions. The Washington Post quoted Dieter Dammeier as saying that upper management had told the cops what to do.

Excessive Use of Force

Police officers are not supposed to use excessive force when doing their job. Use of pepper spray, batons, Tasers, physical force, or guns must be warranted and necessary otherwise, this could be a violation of the victim's civil rights. The United States Code says that this type of misconduct by someone working for state law enforcement can be grounds for a California personal injury lawsuit.

Use of Pepper Spray
Getting struck with pepper spray can be very painful, causing an intense burning sensation that may last for a couple of days. Made from a substance from the cayenne pepper, pepper spray can irritate the skin, eyes, lungs, sinuses, and other mucus membranes.

Using force can cause serious injury and even death, which is why police officers must receive proper training on when force should be employed and what other, less dangerous courses of action are available to them. Many people don't realize that they have rights when it comes to how police are allowed to treat them, so often incidents of excessive use of force or California police brutality go unreported. Even if you were arrested or jailed for a crime, you still are entitled to certain legal and civil protections.

Our Anaheim personal injury lawyers want you to know that if a police officer used more force than necessary when detaining, arresting, or questioning you, this may be sufficient reason for filing an Orange County, California personal injury lawsuit to obtain damages for the harm that you suffered. Howard Law, PC represents clients in Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Orange County, California.

Hundreds of UC Davis students protest pepper-spraying by police, Los Angeles Times, November 21, 2011

What to do if you get pepper sprayed, ABC News, November 21, 2011

UC Davis chancellor 'horrified' by pepper spray, Washington Post/AP, November 21, 2011


More Blog Posts:

Newport Beach Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Police for Suicide of Man While in Custody, California Injury Lawyers Blog, October 21, 2011

Mentally Ill Homeless Man Beaten by Fullerton Police Died from Asphyxia, Reports Coroner, California Injury Lawyers Blog, September 21, 2011

Fullerton Cops Accused of Orange County, California Police Brutality in Fatal Beating of Kelly Thomas, California Injury Lawyers Blog, August 13, 2011

Pomona Wrongful Death Claim Seeks Damages Police Brutality Damages

October 31, 2011,

The family of Andres Avila, 26, has filed a Los Angeles County wrongful death case against the Pomona Police Department, Avila was fatally shot by police last month. They are alleging excessive use of police force and racial profiling.

According to Avila's relatives, the altercation with police began a few months ago on July 4 during a family party. They claim that police went into the residence without specific case and started chasing him. They then allegedly beat him. The family says they have cell phone footage of Avila being Tased and assaulted that night. He would go on to file a personnel complaint against the cops that were involved.

On October 16, police allegedly called Avila and his girlfriend and that is when family say the shooting happened. Avila was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police Brutality
Authorities will hopefully investigate any allegations of police brutality. That said, even if no case is filed against officers allegedly involved this doesn't necessarily mean that you still cannot file a Los Angeles County excessive use of force case and win.

Cops are never supposed to use excessive force when doing their job. That's how people can get hurt or fatally shot. Even when apprehending, questioning, or pursuing someone they are not supposed to use more force than necessary.

Unfortunately, there are police officers that use excessive force to abuse, assault, and harm people. This is known as police brutality and may include physical assault, sexual assault, verbal abuse, intimidation, false arrests, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, rape, and false arrests.

Racial Profiling
One of the accusations the family of Avila is making is that he was the victim of racial profiling, which involves the targeting of people of color by law enforcement officials. Like all acts of police brutality, racial profiling is a violation of one's civil rights.

Most people are too scared to report incidents of Los Angeles police brutality for fear of retaliation. They also don't realize that they've been caused undue harm or that they may have grounds for Pomona personal injury recovery.

Our Anaheim personal injury lawyers frequently report on stories involving allegations, claims, and lawsuits involving people in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County. Be sure to follow our California Injury Lawyers Blog for the latest news.

For the families who have lost someone because of excessive use of police force, know too that you may have reason for a Los Angeles wrongful death case.

Excessive use of force is an abuse of police power. Police officers and their departments should be held liable for misconduct that causes injury or death.

Probe under way into fatal Pomona police shooting, ABC Local, October 16, 2011

Pomona Police Hit with Wrongful-Death Claim, MyFoxLA, November 1, 2011

Pomona Police Department


More Blog Posts:
Newport Beach Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Police for Suicide of Man While in Custody, California Injury Lawyers Blog, October 21, 2011

Mentally Ill Homeless Man Beaten by Fullerton Police Died from Asphyxia, Reports Coroner, California Injury Lawyers Blog, September 21, 2011

Fullerton Cops Accused of Orange County, California Police Brutality in Fatal Beating of Kelly Thomas, California Injury Lawyers Blog, August 13, 2011

Santa Ana Wrongful Death Settlement Reached in Police Shooting of Young Mother

October 21, 2011,

Two years ago, our Anaheim personal injury law firm reported on an Orange County, California wrongful death claim filed against Santa Ana police over the death of a 37-year-old Irvine woman. The family of Susie Young King wanted compensation because police shot her during a 30-minute chase through Santa Ana, Fullerton, Anaheim, and Buena Park. Her daughter, 13-months, was in the backseat of her Toyota at the time. The city has now agreed to pay $2.45 million to Kim's family to settle their Santa Ana wrongful death case.

The chase started early on April 10, 2009, because Kim wouldn't stop after police tried to pull her over for a traffic violation. She reportedly had cocaine and alcohol (her BAC was .18%) in her body. The police pursuit, which reached speeds of up 110 to 120 mph, ended when one of the cops shot at the car.

In their Santa Ana wrongful death claim, Susie's estate, her daughter Angelica Kim Contreras, and her parents Yung and Nancy Kim claimed police purposely endangered the little girl, engaged in excessive use of "deadly force," and applied improper tactics that led to the "justified' shooting.

In July, a federal judge declared a mistrial in the Santa Ana wrongful death trial because the jury couldn't reach an agreement on whether police officer Brandon Sontag had used excessive force. Sontag had testified that he shot at Kim in self-defense because she "floored it" as he approached her car. However, the Kim family's California injury lawyer said that Sontag shot his weapon even as Kim's vehicle drove by him.

Excessive Use of Police Force
Unfortunately, police officers can make mistakes and use too much force when doing their job. This can lead to injuries and deaths--especially when pepper spray, batons, Tasers, or guns and involved. For example, a police officer should only use his/her gun as a last alternative. This means that he/she must exhaust all other, less dangerous options first. Excessive use of police force is a violation of the other person's civil rights.

Excessive use of force can also be used when an officer is engaging in police brutality, which can include physical assault, verbal violence, sexual assault, false arrests, racial profiling, making threats, intimidation, and other acts of violence. Police brutality, too, is a violation of one's civil rights. It is also against the law.

Do not be afraid to speak with a Santa Ana excessive use of force law firm to find out whether you have grounds for filing a complaint against a police officer, his/her department, or the city that employs this cop. You may be entitled to Orange County, California personal injury recovery. Even if prosecutors choose not to pursue charges against the offending police officer, you can still pursue your own civil claim and possibly receive compensation.

Santa Ana pays $2.45 million in fatal shooting of mom, OC Register, October 19, 2011

Woman With Baby in Car Killed at End of Police Chase, NBC LA, January 7, 2010

Santa Ana Police


More Blog Posts:
Parents File $20 Million Orange County, California Wrongful Death Claim for Daughter's Fatal Shooting by Santa Ana Police, California Injury Lawyers Blog, July 21, 2009

Mentally Ill Homeless Man Beaten by Fullerton Police Died from Asphyxia, Reports Coroner, California Injury Lawyers Blog, September 21, 2011

Newport Beach Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Police for Suicide of Man While in Custody, California Injury Lawyers Blog, August 6, 2011

Mentally Ill Homeless Man Beaten by Fullerton Police Died from Asphyxia, Reports Coroner

September 21, 2011,

According to the coroner's death certificate, Kelly Thomas, the mentally ill transient who was fatally beaten by Fullerton six police when they apprehended him in July died from asphyxia brought about by mechanical chest compression and accompanied by blunt cranial-facial injuries. The coroner is calling the death a homicide. Thomas, who was 37, weighhed 145 pounds, and suffered from schizophrenia, also sustained traumatic brain injuries, fractures to his face and ribs, serious bruises and abrasions, and severe bleeding.

Thomas's parents have already filed a Los Angeles, California wrongful death claim against the city of Fullerton. This type of claim against a city is a precursor to an actual civil lawsuit. In their Fullerton wrongful death claim, Thomas's family accused police of using "excessive and deadly" force "without justification" when they detained him at the Fullerton Transportation Center and used their fists, a Taser, and objects for approximately 10 minutes to restrain him. The six cops were responding to a report that someone was trying to break into autos at the Metrolink station parking lot.

Today, Orange County prosecutors charged Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos with second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in Thomas's death. Ramos was the first person to approach Thomas that day. Ramos has been quoted as saying to Thomas, "My fists ... are getting ready to F you up."

A second cop, Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, was charged with involuntary manslaughter. He is accused of shocking Thomas four times and using the stun gun to smash up Thomas's face. Cicinelli is also charged with excessive use of force under the color of authority. The other four cops, who were placed on administrative leave along with Ramos and Cicinelli, will not be criminally charged.

Last week, The Los Angeles, California wrongful death lawyer of Thomas's family announced that he will be filing a Los Angeles police brutality complaint against the city of Fullerton on behalf of a man who says that he too suffered brutal treatment by one of the police officers involved in Thomas's beating. Temecula resident Edward M. Quinonez's Fullerton personal injury case is against officer Kenton Hampton. Quinonez also happened to witness the cops beatingThomas.

Police Brutality
Police officers must never use force more excessive than what a situation warrants. If you or someone you love sustained fatal injuries because a cop was physically or verbally abusive or used more force than necessary, your civil rights have likely been violated and you may have reason for seeking Los Angeles personal injury damages from the police department, the individuals involved, and/or the city.

Unfortunately, many people are too afraid to report when they've been threatened or brutalized by a cop. They may not even know that something wrong has been done to them or fear reprisals.

Another suit planned against Fullerton police, OC Register, September 16, 2011

Kelly Thomas: Father urges high bail in son's 'horrific' death, LA Times, September 21, 2011

Kelly Thomas died of asphyxia, report says, MSNBC, September 21, 2011

Fullerton officer charged with murder in Kelly Thomas death, ABC Local, September 21, 2011


Related Web Resource:
Police Department, City of Fullerton


More Blog Posts:
Fullerton Cops Accused of Orange County, California Police Brutality in Fatal Beating of Kelly Thomas, California Injury Lawyers Blog, August 13, 2011

Newport Beach Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Police for Suicide of Man While in Custody, California Injury Lawyers Blog, August 6, 2011

$2.1M Excessive Use of Force Settlement Reached in 2008 Orange County, California Wrongful Death of Inmate Detained by Cops in 2008, California Injury Lawyers Blog, June 29, 2011

Fullerton Cops Accused of Orange County, California Police Brutality in Fatal Beating of Kelly Thomas

August 13, 2011,

Over 200 people protested outside the Fullerton Police Department and City Hall on Saturday over the death of Kelly Thomas. The 37-year-old homeless man was apprehended last month in a violent arrest that sent him into a coma. He died soon after. Now, the public wants answers and action.

Thomas passed away on July 10, five days after an altercation with cops who were looking into reports of an attempted car burglary. According to his parents' Orange County, California wrongful death claim against the city of Fullerton, Thomas, who weighed 145-pounds, was on a bench at the Fullerton Transportation Center when six cops exercised "excessive and deadly force" on him "without justification."

The Fullerton police officers allegedly used their fists, objects, a Taser, and other forms of deadly and excessive force to restrain him even though he did not pose a threaten to the cops. The arrest was captured on video by a cell phone and has been viewed over 695,000 times on You Tube.

An autopsy that was conducted rendered inconclusive findings and toxicology results are still pending. Thomas's mom, Cathy Thomas, says her son was stunned with a Taser at least six times. He also sustained severe neck and head injuries from the arrest. Thomas's dad Ron Thomas says that his son sustained two types of severe traumatic brain injuries--one caused by blunt force trauma and the other because his heart stopped. Ron wants murder charges filed.

The six police officers involved in Thomas's arrest have since been placed on administrative leave while the investigation into the alleged incident of Fullerton police brutality takes place. Over 80 witnesses have already been interviewed. Meantime, the FBI is investigating whether Thomas' civil rights were violated. The Orange County District Attorney is also looking into this tragic incident.

According to Ron Thomas, his son suffered from schizophrenia and had not been taking his medication. His arrest is raising speculation over whether cops are trained to properly deal with those who are mentally ill. The National Alliance on Mental Illness wants the city of Fullerton, whose cops aren't specifically trained in dealing with mental illness, to look at its officer training programs and work with families with mentally ill members.

Excessive Use of Force
Police officers must never use excessive and unnecessary force when doing their job. They must also assess any arrest situation when deciding how much force to exert. In many instances, a suspect won't pose any physical danger and should be treated accordingly. In certain instances, some physical force may be required to apprehend someone.

For an unarmed person to die while being arrested--let alone be beaten by six cops--definitely raises questions regarding whether the Fullerton police officers committed Orange County, California police brutality. That said, it is important that you know that excessive use of police force doesn't have to be physical. Emotional violence, verbal assault, sexual harassment, blackmailing, and threats can be acts of police brutality when used by a cop on a member of the public. Not only is excessive use of police force is violation of one's civil rights, but also it can be grounds for a Fullerton personal injury or wrongful death case.

Homeless man's death in encounter with cops brings protests, USA Today, August 14, 2011

Six California police officers placed on leave in homeless man's death, CNN, August 4, 2011

Kelly Thomas' Parents File Claim Against Fullerton, MyFOX LA, August 12, 2011


Related Web Resources:
Police, City of Fullerton

National Alliance on Mental Illness


More Blog Posts:

Newport Beach Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Police for Suicide of Man While in Custody, California Injury Lawyers Blog, August 6, 2011

$2.1M Excessive Use of Force Settlement Reached in 2008 Orange County, California Wrongful Death of Inmate Detained by Cops in 2008, California Injury Lawyers Blog, June 29, 2011

Huntington Beach Personal Injury Lawsuit: Man Alleging Police Brutality Claims He Was Choked by Cops, California Injury Lawyers Blog, April 26, 2011