WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (KABC) -- An 80-year-old Westlake Village man has filed a lawsuit against the California Highway Patrol, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office and others after he says his arm was broken when he was handcuffed for two hours following an arrest.
John Parish, who was 79 years old at the time of the arrest, says he was pulled over by a CHP officer on March 16, 2022 while driving with his adult, special needs daughter.
"The officer was very nice, and I was very nice to him and we had a pleasant conversation," said Parish, who is an Army veteran. "He asked me lots of questions. I gave him answers to everything he asked for."
After testing above the legal limit for alcohol, Parish says he was handcuffed and placed in the back of the officer's car.
"My arm started hurting right away," Parish told Eyewitness News. "And I asked him to adjust it and he wouldn't."
Parish says he was cuffed for about two hours, both in the back of the patrol car and later at the Ventura County Jail, and asked several times if someone could loosen or remove the handcuffs because he was in serious pain.
When he was eventually placed in a holding cell, deputies removed his cuffs, but Parish says they ignored his pleas for help.
"It took me three requests and about at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half, before I got to see a doctor," Parish said.
But that doctor refused to treat him. When Parish was released, he went to a hospital where X-rays showed his arm was broken near his shoulder.
"John was not threatening anyone, he was not violent. There was no need for him to be handcuffed in the first place," said attorney Lisa Bloom, who is representing Parish. "Once he was complaining that he was in pain, there's no reason that they kept him handcuffed. It's just cruel. It's police brutality."
Bloom says CHP officers have the discretion not to handcuff sick, disabled, pregnant or elderly people. She has filed a lawsuit against the CHP, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, Ventura County and the arresting officers. It alleges 13 violations including use of excessive force.
Bloom's lawsuit says because of the incident, Parish essentially became dysfunctional, unable to self-care and perform his daily activities and responsibilities.
"This is a form of elder abuse, what happened to him, and we're going to fight and make sure he gets justice," Bloom said.
Parish is a former first lieutenant in the Army, a retired finance executive and says he's never been arrested before.
Eyewitness News reached out to the California Highway Patrol, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office and Ventura County. All declined to comment on cases that are pending litigation.