Man sues San Bernardino sheriff's department over alleged violent home raid

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- A 48-year-old San Bernardino man who is a convicted felon is suing the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, accusing deputies of assault, battery and violation of civil rights.

It all stems from an incident on June 16, 2016, when authorities served a search warrant on the 130 block of Olive Street in San Bernardino.

"Who are you guys?" screamed Steven Ramirez. "They say, 'It's San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, open up the door!' I go 'What do you guys want?' and they say, 'I have a search warrant!'"

Ramirez told Eyewitness News he didn't open up right away, but when he did, it turned violent. "I said, 'black lives matter, and brown lives matter, I'm a brown boy you better be cool with me,' and the minute I opened it up it all I remember was boom!"

Ramirez said the next thing he remembered was waking up in the hospital.

Ramirez is represented by attorney Ben Meiselas, who said, "His condition is dire. Given the amount of repeated blows to the head, he's been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury." Ramirez said the right side of his head is still numb.

Not only does Ramirez claim deputies destroyed his home and his truck, he says they took two of his pit bulls. According to Ramirez, they neutered one of his dogs. The other one was pregnant. He says animal control euthanized the puppies.

"I could take the pain, but the thing is what they did to my animals and my home, they didn't have no reason to do that," Ramirez said.

Ramirez has a lengthy criminal record. He admitted to being a big-time drug dealer in the 1990s, saying "I made my first $1 million at 20 (years old), and I moved up from there."

He was arrested by the FBI in 1997, was convicted and served 14 years in federal prison. He was released in 2011. His record since then shows a few traffic violations, including a misdemeanor charge for driving on a suspended license.

After the search warrant was served on June 16, 2016, Ramirez said he spent two days in the hospital.

His attorney said deputies found a steak knife inside his room, as well as brass knuckles inside his girlfriend's drawer. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's office never filed charges.

"Because of who he was in the past, he remains a constant target of the police," Meiselas said. "We have to believe in second chances, and we have to believe that while there are legitimate concerns that police have, we have to balance it with legitimate rights and abilities for people to move on with their lives and here that was totally disturbed."
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