Woman Obtains $250,000 Settlement for Anaheim Police Officer’s Unlawful Detention and Use of Excessive Force

On April 21, 2019 at about 12:16 pm, Anaheim city police officers, including defendant Thomas Lomeli, responded to a dispatch that a male and female subject were involved in physical altercation. The officers arrived at the intersection of Katella Ave. and Market Street. Upon arrival, the officers saw Riggs walking and stopped their patrol cars. Anaheim Police Officer Lomeli got out of his patrol car and approached Riggs, who was wearing jeans and high heels and walking away from him.

As Lomeli approached Riggs from behind, he called out to her, saying “Hey, come here, do you hear me calling you? Hey, stop.” Although she heard the words “come here, come here,” she did not realize the statements were coming from a police officer as opposed to civilians, who had also yelled to her
through the course of the initial altercation with her boyfriend. Lomeli never vocally identified himself as a police officer prior to taking hold of Riggs’ shoulder. Riggs stated that she would have stopped had she known a police officer was calling to her.

When Riggs did not stop, Lomeli reached out with his left hand and grabbed Riggs on her left upper arm near her shoulder, and forced her down on her rear end onto the sidewalk to detain her. This injured Rigg’s tailbone area. While Lomeli was talking to Riggs, a witness approached and informed Lomeli that he saw a male hitting Riggs, that the witness had told her boyfriend to stop, and that her boyfriend “came to [the witness] like he wanted to fight him.

In a Pre-Trial Motion, United States District Judge James V. Selna ruled that Officer Lomeli unlawfully detained Riggs and used excessive force upon her.

Although Riggs did not suffer serious injury, the City of Anaheim paid her $250,000 for that transgression by Officer Lomeli.

If you are the victim of Police Misconduct, please call Attorney Jerry L. Steering for a free consultation at (949) 474-1849. Mr. Steering has been suing police officers for misconduct by them since 1984 and he can help you too. You can also reach Mr. Steering at jerry@steeringlaw.com.