Veteran files claim against Covina police after officer questions robbery report

COVINA, Calif. (KABC) -- A Covina man says he was terrified by a trio of robbers, but that he was more traumatized by a responding Covina police officer who said he was hallucinating.

On Monday, the lawyer for 25-year old Manuel Gutierrez shared surveillance video which he says proves he was being chased.

The Covina officer had been so skeptical of his account she arrested him and sent him to a psychiatric facility for 72-hour observation.

The family's lawyer James P. Segall-Gutierrez served a claim on Monday alleging that the civil rights of Gutierrez had been violated.

The incident happened on Oct. 7. Gutierrez says a car with two male passengers and a female driver followed him to his family home and held him up at gunpoint.

"That is when he told me 'Give me everything you got.' I told him 'Get away from me. I don't have anything, leave me alone,'" Gutierrez said.

The Gutierrez family says they hunted down the neighbors' video, which shows two sets of headlights stopping at the house. After four minutes, one vehicle leaves.

Gutierrez says the officer's interview took a turn when she asked if he had served in the military. Gutierrez was in the Air Force for five years but never in a combat zone and never suffered PTSD.

According to a statement released by Covina police, Gutierrez was behaving "suspiciously," and had emerged from the house with a baseball bat.

Gutierrez says he grabbed the baseball bat for protection, fearing the robbers could return.

Gutierrez' family, awakened by his cries, corroborates seeing the lights of the strange car and shadowy figures pilfering Gutierrez' truck after he ran inside.

Covina police says a lieutenant tried to re-interview Gutierrez but has been unable to do so.

The Gutierrez family believes that three armed robbers remain on the loose in Covina.
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