Man sues Sheriff’s Dept. over hospital beat down

Marco Chiclana says he sustained these injuries after an altercation with deputies on April 2, at Antelope Valley Hospital.

LANCASTER – Multiple facial fractures, potential blindness in one eye, head injuries, broken bones in various areas of his body, and a chipped tooth are some of the injuries Marco Chiclana alleges he suffered at the hands of at least four deputies.

Chiclana claims he was excessively beaten and falsely arrested by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies on April 2 in front of Antelope Valley Hospital.

“This was an ordinary citizen, never been arrested by the police, and they just beat the hell out of him,” said Chiclana’s attorney, Bradley Gage. “This is worse than the beating that Rodney King had.”

Chiclana recently filed a civil lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department seeking damages for assault and civil battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false arrest and false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and violation of civil rights.

“My client deserves compensation for his injuries,” said Gage. “He wants justice.”

According to the complaint, on April 2, 2011, Chiclana’s father, Damaso Chiclana, was disoriented after open heart surgery at Antelope Valley Hospital and demanding to leave the hospital against doctor’s wishes.

Chiclana tried to persuade his father to return to the hospital, and sought help from hospital security who told him to call 911, according to the complaint.

Chiclana’s lawsuit alleges deputies celebrated the injuries they inflicted on Chiclana by taking photos of the injuries with their cell phones, and texting the pictures to friends.

When Deputy Jeremy Esswein arrived on the scene he initially shook hands with Chiclana, then things took a turn for the worse, according to the complaint.

The complaint states, for no apparent reason, Esswein asked Chiclana whether he had any outstanding warrants, told him to take his hands out of his pockets, asked him whether he had any weapons in his pocket, and then roughly pushed him up against the car.

When Chiclana asked if he was being arrested, Esswein told him to stop resisting, the complaint alleges.

According to the complaint, Esswein punched Chiclana in the face, then Sgt. Justin Diez arrived and placed Chiclana in a carotid restraint. The complaint alleges numerous deputies then arrived and began beating up Chiclana, repeatedly striking him with their fists, knees, batons, billy clubs and flashlights.

The complaint alleges Deputy Curtis Foster tasered Chiclana multiple times; Deputy Justen Holm repeatedly struck Chiclana with his flashlight; and Deputy J. Epstein repeatedly punched Chiclana.

Calls to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lancaster Station seeking comments for this story were not immediately returned Wednesday. However, sheriff’s spokesman, Steve Whitmore, told KTLA 5 that deputies asked Chiclana to take his hands out of his pockets and Chiclana initially refused to do so.

Whitmore said when Chiclana eventually took his hands from his pocket, he was holding a screwdriver.

“We went to grab him to try to contain the situation and he immediately became verbally combative and then struck our deputy in the jaw,” Whitmore said in a KTLA 5 interview.

Chiclana called deputies to the hospital for help, and then ended up in the hospital after a scuffle with deputies.

Chiclana’s attorney disagrees.

“The Sheriff’s Department was trying to say my client had a screwdriver in his hand until the video tape surfaced showing it would be impossible because it shows him shaking the hands of the deputy and there’s nothing in his hand,” said Gage.

A surveillance video of the incident shows Chiclana shaking hands with a deputy before the altercation. For reasons unclear by the video, the deputy is shown grabbing Chiclana by the neck and then hitting Chiclana, before other deputies join in and take him down to the ground.

However, Whitmore says the Sheriff’s department has additional video and other witnesses that tell the whole story.

Chiclana was arrested after the incident for resisting arrest and assault on a peace officer.

“They’re the typical charges that a person receives when law enforcement beats the hell out of them,” said Gage. “They have to justify their unjustifiable behavior, so they try to claim that a person is resisting so that they can justify beating the person.”

Chiclana is due in court on Jan. 17 on charges that include battery, resisting arrest, and mayhem.

According to Chiclana’s civil lawsuit, deputies also arrested Chiclana’s father, Damaso Chiclana, on April 2, and obtained warrants and then arrested Ibarra De Leon, and Chiclana’s mother, Maria Chiclana.

De Leon and Maria Chiclana were simply at the scene and were not a part of the altercation, the complaint states.

Chiclana’s civil lawsuit was filed Nov. 28 in Los Angeles Superior Court. Chiclana, Ibarra De Leon, and Maria Chiclana are suing the County of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies Justin Diez, Jeremy Esswein, Curtis Foster, J. Epstein, and Justen Holm.

Read the entire complaint here.

View video of the altercation between Chiclana and deputies here.

View an update to this story here.

  14 comments for “Man sues Sheriff’s Dept. over hospital beat down

  1. dumbandblind
    February 23, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    What a way to earn a million dollars!

  2. Phil
    December 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    A.V. Sheriffs are on the edge. and this is how they lash out. The Psych Eval leaves much to be desired. NUTS do fall through the screen ALL the time! And are encouraged to do so by senior officers!!! This is not the only video and Witnesses to this HORRIFIC Crime. Only Sheriffs can committ a Feoloy Assault and get it covered up by the LAW. They will show themselves when the time is right. And not before or “They Too WILL BE BEATEN”….Sheriffs supervisor. (On tape)

    • Mike Lackey
      December 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      A dirty little secret is that many of these sheriffs deputies don’t even live in the AV. They live in Tehachapi or Saugus because they can afford to on their $90,000 to $100,000 salaries. they hate the Antelope Valley and say horrible things about us on the internet in forums like City-Data. But they still come here to earn their paychecks. Many of them roll into town and show up for their shifts amped up on caffeine or RedBull energy drinks and are ready to ignite at the slightest provocation. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know there’s lots of crime in this town and lots of problems with people on Section 8 and general trouble with recent L.A. transplants, so I know there is a lot of stress with their jobs, but I think that they could have done a lot better in this situation! They need to get over their US-vs.-Them mentality. This is the problem with letting people from outside of your community come in and act as your police force! They have no dedication to the community, no compassion, no investment and they see everyone here as their potential “enemy”.

      I called the sheriff’s Dept. one evening over an incident in my neighborhood and the deputy told me that the best thing I could do is to “move out of Lancaster to somewhere safer!” I don’t think so! I am not giving up the town I live in, own a business in and have invested in so that I can give it over to the thugs! These deputies seem to forget that it is people like myself who pay their salaries through revenue and taxes! But, again, that’s what happens when you hire people from out of the area to be our law enforcement.

      I am a 50 year old white male who was pulled over and harassed by two LA County Sheriff’s deputies in Lancaster for the crime of having my front window on my car tinted so that I don’t get skin cancer! These men who pulled me over were highly aggressive and acted as if they were on steroids or a caffeine binge! They barked at me, yelled at my wife and I and had their hands placed on their holsters the whole time as if we were going to try to overtake them. Absolutely crazy!

      • AVer
        December 23, 2011 at 5:54 pm

        Well, if you side-swipe me, because you couldn’t see me coming thru your (illegal) tinted front windows, I’d be “aggressive” with you too.

        • Matt S
          December 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm

          Who said anything about being side swiped?
          Are the sheriffs going to start GETTING people because of what might/might not happen?
          Keep giving your rights away.
          But don’t take mine.

          • AVer
            December 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm

            Tinted windows in front of the rear seats is illegal. They are illegal for a reason… they restrict your ability to see. No one wants to take your rights away, but tinted windows on the front of your car is not a “right”. And your “rights” don’t include endangering others around you, because you can’t see.

          • Agenda21MustEnd
            May 29, 2012 at 4:11 am

            As far as I know as long as it is factory tint, it is legal, so if you order a window that was factory tinted and have installed, it’s legal, that is how it used to be anyway, not sure now.

          • AVer
            December 23, 2011 at 8:47 pm

            Well, I should clarify that tinting those front windows beyond a certain point (as spelled out in the CVC) is illegal. Yes, the glass can be slightly tinted, but none of that real dark stuff.

  3. EMW
    December 22, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Lancaster Sheriffs don’t give a [removed] about civil rights, they only care about protecting their own [removed]. They will beat you down in a minute, especially if you black or brown. And will lie to cover their bad acts. I will only call them if absolutely necessary and I hope I never have to.

    • Michael
      December 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

      funny, the guy who got beat didnt look “black or brown” to me! he looked white for all intents and purposes! just because you have a spanish last name doesn’t make you “brown”. many Hispanic people are white too!

      • Matt S
        December 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm

        Maybe you should put your glasses on. Really, it doesn’t matter what the truth is. You’re saying that if you pretend the guy is white, that makes him white? There seems to be some blindness affecting people in the AV. Maybe someone should do a study.

        • Michael
          December 23, 2011 at 8:50 pm

          glasses? I have 20/20 vision here, guy. I also have a degree in Anthropology and an extensive background with the U.S. Census Bureau. Without looking it up real quick, can you tell me what “phenotype” means? (doubt it!) Do you know what anthropological grouping is? Do you know how people are phenotypically classified? Did you know that people from Europe share the same phenotypical features as people from India, hence why Middle Easterners and Indians/Pakistanis are grouped as “Caucasian”.
          I rest my case!

          • Matt S
            December 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm

            What??!!? So how is it with your extensive
            education you can’t see this guy is Hispanic?
            This must be why you all are called elitist.

            Years getting degrees and yet you have no idea what’s in front of you.

          • Michael
            December 23, 2011 at 10:14 pm

            “Hispanic” is not a race, It is a culture! A culture shares certain things like language, geography & sometimes religion.

            Within the category of Hispanic are people of European/Caucasian race, Amerindian race or Mestizo “mixed” race.

            If you go to the Caribbean, it changes to European/Caucasian, African/Black and Mulatto – “mixed” between both.

            The Taino Native American tribe of the Caribbean are very much a diminished category and have been mostly absorcbed into the other two categories. Although the USCB still lets Caribbean Hispanics select “indigenous” or “Taino” if they want to.

            Manny Mota, the Dodgers baseball player is an example of a Hispanic who is of Black/African race. He speaks Spanish and is from a Spanish-speaking nation (Dom. Rep.) but he is for all intents and purposes Black!

            Hispanic does not equal “brown”! It just means someone from a culture where Spanish is the dominant language.

            The man pictured here who was beaten by the cops is clearly of Caucasian phenotype. That he has a Spanish surname and may speak Spanish and identify as “Hispanic” or “Latino” is not of consequence other than his culture.

            So now I am an “elitist” because I went to college? Really? I thought I had heard it all until now. Then again, this is the Antelope Valley and people think you’re “elite” if you have an Associates degree from AVC! lol….

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