Saturday, January 03, 2009

CVPD won't reveal its rules about carotid restraint of people who are having a pool party

The SDUT corrected the story below on January 6, 2009: "A story in Saturday's Our Region section about legal action brought by Justin Ladou against the city of Chula Vista incorrectly reported that police Officer Curtis Chancellor testified he used a chokehold on Ladou. In fact, Chancellor testified that he used a carotid restraint. A chokehold puts pressure on the windpipe, thereby blocking airflow. A carotid restraint puts pressure on the carotid artery, blocking blood flow to the brain."

Man arrested at July party seeks justice
By Tanya Sierra
San Diego Union-Tribune
January 3, 2009

...A lawyer for 34-year-old Justin Ladou filed a $5 million claim against the city Monday, accusing the officer of violating Ladou's civil rights.

...[Police officer Curtis] Chancellor testified that he pulled Ladou by the arm, then used a choke hold on him, breaking his own thumb in the process. Ladou then fell unconscious, he said.

[Blogger's note: The officer broke his own thumb? He must have been REALLY riled up.]

...The District Attorney's Office later dropped the charges against Ladou.

The civil rights claim alleges...Chancellor entered private property to arrest Ladou for being drunk in public...

[Ladou's lawyer Richard] DeSaulles also alleges the city was negligent when it hired Chancellor, a former Southwestern College police officer, because he has a history of stalking, according to a 2003 Superior Court case in which a former girlfriend requested a restraining order...

In a Dec. 4 letter to deSaulles, Chula Vista Deputy City Attorney Chance Hawkins said the documents were redacted because the public's right to the information doesn't outweigh police confidentiality...

“I think most people would agree that if the Police Department believes it's lawful to put a potentially lethal strangulation tool to use, then everyone should know what the rules are,” [Attorney Terry Francke, of the public-access advocacy group Californians Aware] said. “...when do the police get to choke you because you're sassing them back?”

When Ladou was choked, he was recovering from a recent surgery, deSaulles said. In addition, police took no measures to make sure Ladou's children, 8 and 12, were in proper care after he was arrested. A neighbor took them in.

...Chula Vista police officers have been accused before of using excessive force. In July, the city agreed to pay $400,000 to settle a federal lawsuit stemming from a 2006 case in which police beat Christian Morales, who was a high school student at the time. Morales claimed police mistook him for a trailer thief and beat him unconscious in front of his home.

[Blogger's note: I also had a difficult time getting documents from the CVPD. When current mayor Cheryl Cox was on the CVESD board, she and her fellow board members benefited from some helpful inaction by the CVPD.]

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