Protesters Sue Anaheim Police For Excessive Force

Aug. 2, 2014

SANTA ANA – A man and a woman who took part in July 2012 protests in Anaheim filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday accusing the Anaheim Police Department of using excessive force and falsely arresting them.

Richard Brown and Kristine Hedley, both Los Angeles County residents, are seeking unspecified damages from Anaheim, the police department and several officers, including payment of medical bills and legal fees. They were part of the protests against the Anaheim Police Department following the fatal police shootings of five people that year.

Anaheim city officials have not yet responded to the suit’s claims.

According to the complaint, Brown and Hedley were standing in front of the Anaheim Police Department headquarters on Harbor Boulevard on July 29, 2012 with cardboard signs. They were part of a group of 50 to 60 people who walked peacefully from the police headquarters toward Disneyland, the complaint said.

Helicopters, motorcycle officers and mounted officers surrounded and outnumbered the group, the complaint said. After a mounted officer rode into the crowd, he claimed Brown had touched his horse’s head and bridle. Brown denied making any contact with the officer or horse, the complaint said.

Brown allowed his picture to be taken in front of several SWAT officers, the complaint continued. The officers then formed a wall, isolating him from the other protestors. An unmarked van pulled up alongside Brown, and officers got out and ran toward him, the complaint said. They pursued Brown, grabbed him by the shoulders and threw him against a building, the complaint said. He was then thrown to the ground and punched before he was put into handcuffs, the complaint said.

Hedley was knocked to the ground by a police officer pursuing Brown, then lifted by another officer and handcuffed, the complaint said. She was arrested on suspicion of failure to disperse and resisting arrest, but the Anaheim City Attorney’s office declined to file a criminal complaint.

Brown was charged with two counts of interfering with a police horse and resisting a peace officer. A judge dismissed two counts, and a jury acquitted Brown of the third.

At no point did Brown or Hedley threaten police, the complaint said, and at no time were they told to disperse. Police violated their Constitutional rights and also lied in their reports and statements about what happened, the complaint said.

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