FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KRON) — A woman who was thrown to the ground by an officer after police were called for help has filed a lawsuit against the City of Fairfield and over 50 officers on the Fairfield Police Department force.
According to court documents filed in US District Court’s Eastern District, Diana Santos and her husband, Edward Chavez, are suing for injuries as well as civil rights violations for an incident that took place Oct. 20, 2020.
Santos and Chavez were at their home with their four daughters. One of the daughters’ ex-boyfriends came to the residence and threatened Chavez with a knife, according to court documents. At some point the FPD was called, and officers arrived on scene. But when the officers arrived, the situation took a turn.
Officers proceeded to arrest one of Santos’ daughters, and place her in a patrol car. When Santos’ three other daughters came outside to see what the commotion was about, they were told to go back inside by Chavez and the officers, according to the suit. As Santos tried to calm her second daughter down, an officer threatened to put her “into handcuffs, too.”
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As officers Smith and Wiest proceeded to threaten the second daughter with arrest, they put one handcuff on her wrist. According to court documents, the officers did not inform either of the women that the daughter had been detained. As officers instructed Santos to move, Wiest allegedly grabbed Santos’s shirt so violently that it ripped before pulling both arms behind her back.
Cell phone video of the incident came to light before video from the bodycams worn by police during the altercation was released last year. The footage shows Santos’ legs flying up in the air as Wiest picked her up and threw her on the ground. Then Santos can be seen unconscious on the pavement.
According to the complaint, Santos “suffered severe physical and emotional injuries, including injuries to her back.” The complaint alleges that the amount of force Wiest and Does 1-50 used against Santos in the interaction was “so excessive that no reasoanable officer would have used such force under the circumstances.”
The suit argues that Wiest took a full minute after slamming Santos the ground before he requested an ambulance. Court documents state that FPD officers proceeded to search the home of Santos and Chavez without a warrant.
The complaint lists five causes of action: excessive force, malicious prosecution, unconstitutional seizure and detention and two causes of unconstitutional search. An email sent to the Fairfield City Attorney’s Office for comment on the suit was not returned.