San Clemente man who sued county over excessive force during arrest gets settlement – Orange County Register

SANTA ANA — The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, July 11, approved a settlement with a San Clemente resident who alleged in a federal lawsuit that deputies knocked out his teeth while restraining him.

The board voted 4-0, with Supervisor Lisa Bartlett absent, to approve the agreement. The terms of the settlement were not immediately available.

Troy Jon Thomas filed the lawsuit last September, alleging unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, negligent hiring and training.

Thomas alleged that he was “passive, unarmed and not resisting arrest” when a deputy “viciously threw three punches to (Thomas’) head while (he) was on the ground helpless.”

The incident was “captured on videotape,” according to Thomas’ court papers.

“This unjustified attack caused (Thomas) to sustain an open wound to his head, a black eye and the loss of several teeth,” according to his
lawsuit.

The June 2, 2015, conflict with deputies happened about 5:20 p.m. when they were sent to Thomas’ residence in the 100 block of East Avenida Ramona in San Clemente after his roommate claimed that Thomas had assaulted him, according to the lawsuit.

Thomas was walking his dog while a deputy questioned the roommate. The deputy called for assistance and told Thomas he was being detained, according to the lawsuit, which says Thomas was checked for weapons before deputies began questioning him.

Thomas, who was resting on the patrol car’s bumper, said he wanted to leave, but was forced to sit back down, according to his court papers.

Thomas told Deputy C. Lamberta that he was “walking away” unless he was under arrest, the lawsuit says. Thomas said that when he got up to leave, he was “forced” to the ground, prompting him to hold “onto the deputy’s forearms to prevent falling and/or reduce the impact of a fall.”

Thomas alleged he was then on the ground, “helpless,” as Lamberta “viciously punched (him) in the face three times,” followed by another deputy who “straddled” Thomas and handcuffed him. Thomas was taken to a hospital, where he received stitches in his head.

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