Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Orange County, California Sheriff Says This Lady Punched Herself In the Face

Yeah, that's right, the nice lady in the pic, with the black eye that is suing the Orange County Sheriff's department claiming they used excessive force according to the Orange County Register, they are claiming she punched herself in the face sustaining the injury.  This is reporter Teri Sforza's account:

"Might the county’s defense be summarized as, 'The lady gave herself a black eye, and you can’t sue us anyway, and everything regarding our officers’ history of troublesome behavior must be kept from the jury?'

The wheels of justice do grind.

We’ve been telling you about the lawsuit involving an Old English sheep dog, a woman named Toy (who suffered a nasty black eye), and Orange County Sheriff’s deputies (including one who was arrested for DUI after two crashes within a half-hour). Even though the federal judge handling the case seemed to give the county the kiss of death — 'a reasonable jury could conclude that the defendant officers used excessive force' – the case is proceeding to trial[.]

[The Cirty of]Mission Viejo paid $24,000 to make this suit go away, mind you, but the county is fight, fight, fighting on. The final pretrial conference is set for July 29, and the trial is set to begin Aug. 24, according to a proposed order (read it here: pretrial conference order). We’ve asked the county to provide the billing totals for the law firm handling this case, and we’ll alert you when they arrive.

[Orange] County’s planned defense for excessive force charges in the Toy/sheep dog case?

That its deputies have 'qualified immunity' because they 'acted reasonably, in good faith, without malice and within the scope of their duties as sworn peace officers.' That 'a public employee is not liable for injury caused by his instituting or prosecuting any judicial or administrative proceeding within the scope of his employment, even if he acts maliciously and without probable cause.'

And that 'any injury sustained by plaintiffs were self-inflicted.'

Hmmmm.Both sides are asking the judge to exclude stuff that might make them look bad. White’s lawyer doesn’t want the county mentioning that Toy White is currently unemployed; the county doesn’t want White’s lawyer mentioning the troubled history of some of the deputies, particularly former double-crash Deputy/suspected drug dealer Allan Waters. (The county settled another case involving former Deputy Waters for $32,000. And Waters is no longer a deputy; shortly after he turned in his uniform, he was arrested for DUI and on suspicion of being a drug dealer who traded fake drugs and cash in exchange for real prescription drugs.)

So what’s the fuss about?

Toy White’s Old English sheepdog nipped a trespasser on her Mission Viejo property in July 2007. Soon four OC sheriff’s deputies and a Mission Viejo animal control officer arrived at White’s home, demanding that the dog be surrendered for quarantine. White’s husband asked if there were any other options for quarantine besides seizing the dog; White asked if the officers had a search warrant; when they said no, White proceeded to try to close her front door. What happened next depends on which side of the door you were on:

White maintains that the animal control officer stuck his foot into the door stop her from closing it, one of the sheriff’s deputies shouted,  'She’s resisting,' [BL:  Hmmmm, where have we heard that before?"] and then three deputies collectively stormed White, slamming her head and left side into the limestone flooring.

The county maintains that White pushed the animal control officer in the upper torso, and that the deputies rushed in to 'prevent her from further assaulting' the animal control officer. White was combative and struggled with the deputies, who then restrained her and arrested her for obstructing a peace officer. She was later charged with assault and battery on a police officer, though criminal charges were dismissed.
I have a feeling we will be covering a number of Bad Sheriff stories in the next day or so . . .

I remember looking far worse in a booking photo as a result of my "resisting" and "non-cooperation" with Sheriff McFoul's pepper-spraying deputies--aremd as I was with a briefcase and raincoat.


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