Riverside: Sheriff’s department sued for excessive arrests Posted on September 12, 2003 at 05:57:58 PM by Desert Dawg Sheriff’s department sued for excessive arrests By Jennifer Larson The Desert Sun August 30, 2003 A former Palm Desert couple has filed a $16 million federal lawsuit against the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. According to the lawsuit filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court, Isabella Behrens and her husband, Martin, are seeking damages and expenses related to their July 22, 2002, arrest after an altercation at the Palm Desert restaurant and bar Bananaz. A spokesman for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department declined to comment on the lawsuit Friday. County counsel Bill Katzenstein could not be reached for comment Friday. The lawsuit states that a group of young men harassed Isabella Behrens while she was dancing, so she “gently poured a glass of water on the ringleader.” Behrens and her husband were ordered to leave Bananaz, but they had not paid the remainder of their bar tab. The couple told a waitress they would return to pay the bill the next morning, the lawsuit states. After the Behrens returned home, the lawsuit claims, five deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department came to their home, arrested them and used excessive force against both. Isabella and Martin Behrens were both booked on several criminal charges at the Riverside County Jail. Deputies also took Martin Behrens to a local hospital for treatment for a broken arm. Attorney Jerry L. Steering, who represents the couple, said the original charges against the Behrens were dropped in June. The French Consulate in Los Angeles asked the U.S. Department of State to investigate the original incident because Isabella Behrens is a French national. According to vice consul general Olivier Plancon , the consulate was satisfied with the result of the state department’s investigation. Although he would not comment directly on the lawsuit, Plancon added that it is up to the courts to decide justice in the matter. “We trust American justice to do its job,” he said. Source: http://b4.boards2go.com/boards/board.cgi?action=read&id=1063407478&user=SoCA http://www.thedesertsun.com/news/stories2003/local/20030830033119.shtml

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