Man beaten up by MP in Victorville says county forced him to sign right to sue – San Bernardino Sun


Victorville man who was filmed being kicked twice in the head by a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy as he surrendered, said jailers pressured him to accept $ 4,000 and to sign a waiver in which he promised not to sue the county for excessive force.

Willie C. Jones III, 33, a diesel mechanic, made the statement in a July 1 claim filed against the county asking for $ 5 million and repeated it in a press conference at his attorney’s office in Riverside on Friday July 2.

Jones received the document in an interrogation room after his arrest at the end of a prosecution on June 16 and after being released from a hospital, his lawyer Zulu Ali said.

Jones said he had yet to post a bond and sign the waiver without his lawyer being present and understanding what she was saying.

Ali said Jones was stunned by the kicks and was still confused and groggy when he was “forced” to sign the waiver.

“It’s almost as bad as the assault itself,” Ali said.

Jones said he did not cash the check. Jones has yet to be charged with a felony, Superior Court records show.

County spokeswoman Felisa Cardona declined to comment on the request, which is a legally required precursor to a trial, or the release Jones said he signed on Friday. A request for a copy of the county’s blank form was not completed on Friday. Ali declined to provide a copy of the press release signed by Jones.

Sharon Brunner, a Victorville civil rights attorney who has represented clients who said they were subjected to excessive force by the sheriff’s department, said the county has been trying to get the waivers signed by potential litigants since. more than a year for the purpose of keeping records. out of court, where juries could award plaintiffs hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.

On two occasions, Brunner said, detectives approached his clients with the releases while they were lying in hospital beds after being shot and under the influence of painkillers. Both clients signed the waivers. Still, the two cases are in dispute, Brunner said.

Brunner said the county never tried to use the signed dumps to stop him from prosecuting.

“This appears to be a new trend that in my experience San Bernardino County is getting involved. It is highly inappropriate and highly unethical, and it usually happens when customers are most vulnerable,” said Brunner, who is not involved in the Jones case. . “Asking Mr. Jones to sign a waiver when he hasn’t gone to a lawyer or a doctor, it just stinks of undue influence and intimidation.”

Brunner and co-counsel Jim Terrell in particular won a $ 650,000 county settlement in 2015, less than two weeks after 10 MPs were caught on camera hitting and kicking horse thief suspect Francis Jared Pusok in Apple Valley. A legal expert called the speed of the settlement “unheard of”. But in this case, Brunner said on Friday, Pusok had the opportunity to first discuss the settlement with his lawyers and ask a doctor to determine that he had not suffered any injuries requiring long-term care.

Jones was riding his motorcycle around 12:40 a.m. on June 16 when a deputy attempted to stop him for a traffic violation. Jones did not stop, prompting a chase in which he lit red lights and drove north in the southbound lanes of Highway 15, a press release from the sheriff said.

Jones eventually abandoned his motorcycle and fled into the parking lot of a Toyota dealership. There, a security videotape shows Jones emerging from under a car and finally walking towards an assistant with his hands in the air. As Jones lies on his stomach, his left arm outstretched and his right arm tucked under him, the deputy walks up and kicks him twice in the head.

“It hurts me every time I see it,” said Jones, who added he had headaches and difficulty eating and sleeping.

Attorney Zulu Ali, who represents Willie Jones III, to Ali’s left, on July 2, 2021, discusses the $ 5 million claim filed on Jones’ behalf after a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy kicked Jones in the head during an arrest on June 16. (Brian Rokos, La Presse-Entreprise / SCNG)

Jones declined to say on Friday why, according to the press release, he didn’t stop.

The Sheriff’s Department has opened criminal and internal investigations into Deputy Corie Smith, who has been placed on paid leave. Sheriff John McMahon, in a written statement, said: “This incident raises concerns. I expect my assistants to remain professional while engaging the public.

Ali called for a culture change in law enforcement that results in excessive force, starting with agency leadership.

“Mr. Jones wants me to help him get justice. I promised him that I would go further. We want a period of justice. Not just for him, but we want justice for everyone who has been through this. type of situation, ”Ali said.

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