BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
A deaf man allegedly tackled by Bakersfield police who believed he'd been trying to break into an apartment has filed a claim against the city alleging civil rights violations, assault and unlawful arrest.
Jesus A. Trevino suffered a fractured wrist in the encounter, his attorney, Daniel Rodriguez, said Thursday. The claim, a required step before pursuing a lawsuit against a public entity, was filed April 15.
Bakersfield police Sgt. Joe Grubbs said the claim had not been served to the department as of 5 p.m. Thursday.
Rodriguez said the events leading to the incident began the afternoon of Oct. 16. Trevino's daughter dropped him off at his residence in the 8200 block of Kroll Way, at the southwest corner of Stockdale Highway and Gosford Road.
Trevino walked to his door and realized he'd forgotten both his keys and cellphone, Rodriguez said. He rattled the door in an effort to open it, but was unsuccessful.
Trevino was unaware someone saw him fiddling with the door and thought he was trying to break in. Rodriguez said that person called police.
As Trevino began walking to a nearby Albertsons to use a phone there, he was knocked to the ground by an officer who had approached from behind.
"As he's driven to the ground, he can feel his left arm crunching and cracking," Rodriguez said.
Trevino turned his head and saw the officer. He yelled that he was deaf, and after making himself understood a second officer took him to Mercy Southwest Hospital.
Rodriguez said officers reportedly yelled at Trevino before using force. Trevino wasn't able to comply with their orders because he couldn't hear them, the attorney said, and had no idea they were even in the area.
According to Rodriguez, Trevino began going deaf about four years ago. He first began losing hearing in his right ear, followed by diminished loss of hearing in his left ear until he became completely deaf about two years ago.
Rodriguez said he hopes the lawsuit filed after the claim gets Trevino an apology from police, and reveals how the department trains officers to deal with people with disabilities.
He said the the suit will seek to compensate Trevino for medical bills and other damages. He said plates and screws have been put in Trevino's wrist, and more surgery may be necessary.