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Man's lawsuit claims deputies beat him for no reason [Video]

December 22, 2011 | 10:16 am

A Lancaster man has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies alleging he was repeatedly punched and falsely arrested outside Antelope Valley Hospital eight months ago.

Marco Chiclana alleges that he arrived at the hospital on April 2 after being told that his father, who was recovering from open heart surgery, was demanding to leave against his doctor’s wishes. In an effort to pursuade his father to stay, hospital security advised Chiclana and his family to call 911, according to the lawsuit.

Chiclana claims that when a deputy arrived, he was arrested for no apparent reason -- and then punched in the face without provocation. Soon after, numerous deputies arrived and began beating Chiclana, his attorney, Bradley Gage, said.

Gage provided a copy of hospital surveillance video, above, that he says shows the incident.

"You see in the video that the sheriff arrives, my client goes and shakes his hand — seconds later, he gets punched," Gage said.

The lawsuit also alleges that the deputies took cellphone photos after the beating and sent the pictures to friends.

Chiclana had no police record at all, Gage said. "He was a clean individual with no arrests and no warrants," he said. "There was no justification for what they did."

Sheriff’s officials, however, said that Chiclana became physically combative, otherwise "we wouldn’t have hit him," said sheriff’s department spokesman Steve Whitmore.

Whitmore said deputies were responding to an assault call after Chiclana was attacked by his father in the hospital parking lot.

When deputies arrived, Chiclana began "with a verbal confrontation," then pulled a screwdriver from his pocket, Whitmore said. A deputy grabbed his arm to try to contain the situation and Chiclana “hit the deputy square in the jaw,” Whitmore said.

Chiclana than gouged a sergeant in the eye, Whitmore said, “and that’s why the other deputies swarmed him.”

Chiclana's attorney disputed Whitmore's account and said his client never had a screwdriver.

An internal investigation determined that deputies relied on a “reasonable use of force,” Whitmore said. The Office of Independent Review is also looking into the matter, he said.

Chiclana was charged with resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer, obstruction of justice and perpetrating mayhem. He has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Chiclana’s mother and father were also arrested at the incident but charges have been dropped since then, sheriff’s officials said.

The lawsuit alleges assault and civil battery, malicious prosecution, false arrest and false imprisonment. 

"The D.A. is confident of conviction, and we are too," Whitmore said. "We look forward to telling the whole story."

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-- Rosanna Xia

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