LANCASTER – A lawsuit was filed on behalf of a teenage girl who was allegedly body-slammed by a school resource sheriff’s deputy at Lancaster High School in 2021 and later mocked by the deputy when she returned to school.
The plaintiff is identified only as Jane Doe 1 in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought Wednesday, May 4, against Los Angeles County, the Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Daniel Acquilano and the Antelope Valley Union High School District.
The complaint’s allegations include civil rights violations, assault, battery, false arrest, aiding and abetting assault and battery, negligence, negligent hiring supervision, retention, training and education, intentional infliction of emotional distress and harassment based on race, sex and disability. Doe seeks compensatory damages against all of the defendants and as well as punitive damages against Acquilano.
The LASD previously released a statement explaining that Doe physically resisted the detention and so the deputy used force to take her into custody. An AVUHSD representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The incident was recorded on video and occurred last Aug. 30 at Lancaster High when the girl, then 16, refused the deputy’s request to hand over her cell phone and began walking away, the suit states.
“After slamming her down, he straddles her face down on the ground, while she is screaming to call her mom,” the suit states. “The video captures school personnel standing around watching the incident, failing to intervene.” Doe remained face-down on the ground for several minutes, pinned and straddled by the deputy, the suit states.
“Horrified and in shock, Jane Doe repeatedly screamed that he get off of her and not touch her,” the suit states. “Jane Doe continued pleading to be allowed to call her mother throughout the assault, but was denied the opportunity to do so.”
Doe was taken nearly 50 miles away to Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar and her mother was notified to pick her up about 8 p.m., according to the suit.
Doe returned to school for one day on Sept. 3 and Acquilano “continued to engage in highly inappropriate conduct by mocking, teasing and harassing her over the attack,” the suit alleges.
Doe’s mother was forced to look for alternative education for her daughter through independent study because the district has not removed Acquilano from Lancaster High, the suit states.
“The assault has left this young girl physically and emotionally devastated,” the suit states. “Naturally, Jane Doe refuses to attend school out of fear, trauma and humiliation while … Acquilano continues to roam the campus, endangering other students.”