The family of a 16-year-old girl who was found to be knocked down and strangled by a Rialto police officer during her arrest in February has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking $10 million in damages.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, May 4, in US District Court, alleges excessive force, conspiracy, battery and negligence, among other complaints.
Named as defendants were two officers involved in the incident – identified in the suit as Officer Ivan Delgadillo and Officer Zamora (no first name was included) – Rialto Police Chief Mark Kling, of Rialto City, San Bernardino County and 10 people. With whom the family has not yet been identified.
The trial stems from the February 11 arrest of the juvenile, whose name has not been released publicly, who was stopped on suspicion of riding a motorized bike that was not street legal and a residential street on the corner of South Linden. But he was driving very fast. Avenue and Pinedale Avenue.
Kling said the girl could not prove her identity and authorities were unable to release her with a citation to appear in court.
Four days after the incident, Kling apologized to the girl’s family for the incident and asked the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office to investigate the actions of the officer who had put his hand on the girl’s neck, whom Delgadillo in the suit. was recognized as
Kling said in February that the officer in question was also being investigated by the department’s internal affairs and then placed on paid administrative leave.
It was not immediately clear what Zamora’s condition was.
On Thursday, May 5, Kerry Harper, the family’s attorney, called for Delgadillo’s shooting and full officer-worn body camera footage to be released to the public.
“The (police department) is covering the footage because they know how serious it is,” Harper said. “Everyone must agree that strangling a helpless person is completely unacceptable.”
On Thursday, the police department declined to comment, citing a pending trial. When asked about the possible release of body-worn camera footage, the department did not immediately respond.
The lawsuit alleges that when Delgadillo and Zamora stopped the girl, she was charged with speeding 40 mph and asked to remove her helmet. He said that when he did not identify himself, the officers put the girl in handcuffs and threatened to tease her as a struggle, it said.
The lawsuit states that the girl was thrown to the ground and Delgadillo placed his knee on her chest as he accused the girl of trying to bite him. Delgadillo then alleged that the girl tried to bite him again and then hit his throat “sucker punch style,” according to the suit. It added that the throat strike would only be visible from camera footage worn across the officer’s body and not taped by onlookers.
As a result of the incident, the girl suffered “severe pain and suffering” as well as “extreme and severe mental agony”, the suit said.
The trial states that the girl was detained for four days in the juvenile hall before she was released. The status of any case against him was not available on Thursday.
Rialto city officials could not be immediately reached for comment. A San Bernardino County spokesman did not immediately comment Thursday.