Pomona police officers accused of excessive use of force in new complaint

A man is seeking more than $1,000,000 for physical and emotional distress, and medical expenses.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2022
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A man who is now in a wheelchair is filing a brutality claim against the Pomona Police Department, saying a violent encounter with officers left him injured.

POMONA, Calif. (KABC) -- A man who is now in a wheelchair is filing a brutality claim against the Pomona Police Department, saying a violent encounter with officers left him injured.

Cell phone video captured Joel Marin Garcia's encounter with an unidentified officer on April 28 outside a Cardenas Markets store.

Garcia, who is in a wheelchair after having part of his left leg amputated, said he was in the parking lot of the Rio Rancho Mall asking for donations from shoppers.

"He was not obstructing pedestrian traffic nor was he obstructing vehicle traffic," said Garcia's lawyer Jaime Gutierrez.

In the video, officers are seen asking Garcia to leave the property multiple times.

Garcia refused and after going back and forth for several minutes, officers moved in and took him into custody.

"The police officer grabbed my arm, lifted me, I fell on the ground and I started to yell because my leg began to hurt," said Garcia.

Garcia claims the officers used excessive force and was injured because of it.

"The other police officer grabbed my right hand and put his knee and his whole weight upon my body and I began to yell, 'My back! My back!'" Garcia said.

"My client is missing the bottom part of his left leg. That wound when they threw him to the ground, hit the concrete and it reopened the wound," said Gutierrez. "They fractured his back and they took him to the Pomona Valley Hospital where he was diagnosed with a fracture on the L3 lower back."

Garcia and his attorney served the Pomona Police Department with a complaint for damages on Monday.

They're seeking more than $1,000,000 for physical and emotional distress, and medical expenses.

"My client needs to see a nerve specialist and he has to have some surgery again to help heal the leg. He also has to have back surgery," Gutierrez said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Pomona Police Department for a comment but has not heard back.

Garcia's attorney said they hope to settle their claim with the Pomona Police Department and the city before they have to file a civil rights lawsuit and have this case go to trial.