SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – California sheriff’s officers beat a man senseless after stopping him for riding his bicycle without a headlight, then told him if he sought medical treatment he “would never see daylight,” the man claims in court.
Manuel Jose Salazar sued Santa Clara County, its Sheriff’s Department, and Officers Carrie Gordon and Alan Reyes on Sept. 4 in Federal Court.
Salazar acknowledges he was riding his bicycle without a forward-facing light on Dec. 8, 2014. He says that when the officers pulled him over he ran toward a Burger King parking lot in San Jose. Officer Gordon intercepted him and held him at gunpoint with her department-issued Glock pistol.
Salazar says he complied with the officers’ orders, stopped and showed his hands, and “fully surrendered” by lying face down on the ground with his hands spread.
Reyes then needlessly slammed his face into ground, and numerous officers kneed and kicked him, breaking an elbow and a forearm, loosening teeth and injuring his face, back and neck, Salazar says. He says he was not resisting arrest throughout the beating.
When paramedics arrived, one officer told him “that if he were to accept any medical treatment he would press so many charges against Salazar that he would never see daylight,” thereby coercing him into refusing medical care, he says.
But when they took him to jail, “the medical would not book Salazar without proper medical care at the hospital, given the extent of his obvious injuries,” the complaint states. So they sent him to a hospital.
The officers then falsified the arrest report to conceal their misconduct and use of excessive force, Salazar says.
“Plaintiff Salazar was unarmed and was actually lying surrendered, face down on the ground at the onset of the excessive force,” the complaint states. “Salazar never posed a threat to anyone nor was attempting to thwart the officers’ investigation.”
He seeks punitive damages for unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, battery, negligent hiring and training and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit does not mention what charges police filed against him.