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Yamhill County Brutality Lawsuit Moves Forward

AP | May 20, 2013 8:05 a.m. | McMinnville, Oregon

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AP

A trial date could be set this week for a lawsuit claiming Yamhill County law enforcement officers used excessive and unnecessary force in making an arrest three years ago.

The News-Register reports that Hipolito Aranda, 48, is seeking $1 million in punitive damages from seven defendants, including a McMinnville Police Department sergeant and a Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

Aranda suffered a broken elbow and ribs during his arrest by a McMinnville officer for resisting arrest. He was acquitted of the charge.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon last month dismissed parts of his lawsuit regarding the sheriff’s office because it served as the backup agency in the arrest but retained excessive force claims.

Settlement talks this month did not reach a resolution. A hearing to determine a trial date is scheduled for Friday.

According to the lawsuit, on Feb. 13, 2010, Aranda was a passenger in a car stopped for a traffic infraction. The officer determined the female driver was drunk and tried to arrest her, but she resisted.

Aranda, after about 20 minutes, asked officers if he could walk home. He was ordered to get back into the car but instead stood alongside it.

Aranda speaks limited English. According to the lawsuit, McMinnville Police Sgt. Tim Heidt, who had been at the scene earlier, returned, approached Aranda and frisked him.

The lawsuit claims Aranda made no threatening gestures but that Heidt spun him around by the shoulder and threw him to the ground so hard that he bounced. As Aranda tried to put his arms under his chest, Heidt repeatedly struck him on the side, then the head.

Sheriff’s Deputy Rich Broyles arrived and punched Aranda in the head and shoulder and kneed him in the ribs, according to the lawsuit. A second deputy then fired a stun gun into his legs two or three times.

A McMinnville Police Department internal report concluded that Aranda was not fighting back. It also concluded that Heidt’s written report contained “significant inconsistencies” from a videotape of the incident.

A Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office also conducted an internal review.

Judge Simon in his ruling noted the seriousness of repeated blows delivered by the deputy and wrote, “a jury could find that a reasonable officer should have determined that Aranda did not pose an immediate or serious threat.”

Besides claiming the officers used excessive force, the lawsuit claims Aranda’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated because he was arrested without probable cause.

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Information from: News-Register, http://www.newsregister.com

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