Canyon County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Joe Decker said considering the thousands of contacts between law enforcement and the public, complaints are normal.
LOS ANGELES — The new Caldwell Police Chief, Rex Ingram, has a lawsuit pending against him and his previous employer, the Los Angeles Police Department – but lawsuits against officers are common, he says.
The lawsuit, filed by Plaintiff Frank Edward Edmonds and his attorneys, requests 16 claims for relief alleging that LAPD officers falsely arrested Edmonds, used excessive force against him and unlawfully jailed him.
Ingram was nominated for the Caldwell PD chief after Caldwell Mayor Jarom Wagoner’s first nomination was turned down by the city council.
Ingram, a police lieutenant from Los Angeles, California, took over July 5 amid an FBI investigation into the Caldwell Police Department.
Ingram is a fifth-generation law enforcement officer with over 20 years of experience in both sworn and voluntary positions.
Edmonds was arrested and charged with assault and battery against a police officer in 2016, where he pleaded not guilty. However, Ingram’s police vehicle footage was not disclosed by the prosecution and resulted in a mistrial.
Edmonds was later retried, found guilty, and sentenced to nearly 10 years in incarceration.
In 2021, his attorneys filed the lawsuit against LAPD and its responding officers regarding the arrest from two years prior.
The lawsuit states that officers responded to an unconscious blood-covered Edmonds, who was parked on the side of the road in Lynwood, California.
The suit claims Edmonds told the officers two men beat him up and that he refused medical attention from paramedics that arrived on scene.
The officers allegedly told Edmonds that if he didn’t want medical attention he needed to move his car, to which Edmonds replied, “the car don’t work.”
LAPD officers grabbed Edmonds’ keys and threw them atop his car, the lawsuit said, and he objected — Officers stated in previous testimony that Edmonds began kicking the officers and they detained him but did not advise him he was under arrest. The suit said at no point in any recording did it sound like Edmonds was kicking an officer, but the officer tased him.
Ingram also tased Edmonds in the upper chest with both taser darts and then discharged the taser to Edmonds’ left leg, the suit said.
The lawsuit also accuses the officers of conspiring to cover up the incident by not disclosing all the information related to the incident and reciting false information during criminal proceedings. It says that the officers recorded arrest reports and follow up investigations that included false testimony.
The defense in both trials argued that officers knew Lynwood was outside of their jurisdiction, therefore they should not have responded and arrested him in the first place.
Ingram and the city attorney for Los Angeles could not immediately comment due to pending litigation as there is another trial approaching in the matter, but he did tell KTVB that these types of lawsuits happen often.
“It’s very frequent that officers get sued in federal court,” Ingram said.
Citizens frequently file tort claims every month against departments and their city, which is a precursor to a lawsuit.
Additionally, Canyon County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Joe Decker said that it’s important to note there are many claims filed a year.
“If you compare the number of claims against the number of contacts between law enforcement and the public (thousands a year), formal tort filings or even citizen complaints are not actually that common. They seem to be common because they tend to be highlighted by the media as the negative aspect of a law enforcement interaction. But at least here at the county, we probably receive more positive comments on an annual basis than negative ones,” Decker said. “I think it’s also important to remind you that tort claims are merely allegations of wrongdoing or harm and unsubstantiated claims should not otherwise be treated as fact.”
For reference, there are 17 cases mentioning or filed against the Boise Police Department dating back to 2009 in the Idaho District Court and the U.S Court of Appeals.
Caldwell PD has one, not including the pending FBI investigation.
The City of LA responded to the lawsuit, where in response to every claim they stated that officers lack sufficient information and belief upon which to answer the allegations, thus denying the allegations, as well as claiming the force used against Edmonds was necessary.
The last documents filed in the case from June 22 is listed as a joint case management statement that requests a jury trial in the matter to discover if police acted maliciously, falsified statements, used excessive force and others. A trial date is set for June 20, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Santa Ana, California.
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