Taser at center of civil rights lawsuit Thursday against LPD - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/14/10

Taser at center of civil rights lawsuit Thursday against Lubbock police

By James Clark | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A Lubbock woman sues Lubbock police for false arrest and excessive force.  Belinda Ann Sarabia says she was the passenger in her own car back on September 13th and the driver was David Hernandez.  A police officer pulled over her vehicle in a traffic stop at 58th and Elgin Avenue, and then arrested Hernandez for unpaid traffic tickets.

Sarabia admits her lawsuit that she was intoxicated but she was a passenger in her own vehicle, not the driver, and not out in public.  She says Officer Sadie Hockenberry falsely accused her of public intoxication.

The lawsuit says, "Officer Hockenberry then savagely and brutally attacked Plaintiff with the Taser, shocking her more than 20 times in the thigh, side, ribs, and chest area, in an effort to get her to exit the vehicle."

Sarabia was accused of Public Intoxication, Resisting Arrest, and Obstruction or Retaliation.

The lawsuit says Sarabia, "had demonstrated no physical resistance or threat of any kind toward Officer Hockenberry or any other officer responding, and had, at most, simply refused to step out of the vehicle when told to do so."

The lawsuit accuses Lubbock police of having "a custom and practice" of failing to discipline or retrain officers who wrongfully utilize excessive force.

A police spokesman tells NewsChannel 11, "It's not that we don't want to comment.  It's that we cannot comment on pending litigation."   

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