A high school student who alleges she was wrongfully removed, handcuffed and arrested in January for putting her feet on a Metro train seat, in a videotaped encounter that went viral, is suing the city of Los Angeles and a police sergeant, along with a second teen who claims she had a violent encounter with another member of the LAPD at a different Metro station.

The suit filed on behalf of Bethany Nava, 18, and a 17-year-old girl identified only as A.M. alleges unreasonable search and seizure, unlawful detention and arrest, and unlawful search and seizure. Other allegations include assault, battery, sexual battery, negligence, civil rights violations and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

A spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office could not be immediately reached for comment on the suit, which was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court and seeks unspecified damages.

Nava was pulled off a train Jan. 22 at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro station by an LAPD member identified in the suit only as Sgt. Hutchings, allegedly because she refused to take her foot off a seat. The screaming young woman was pulled off the train, even as she hooked her arm around a pole and yelled that her belongings were still on the subway car.

In the ensuing chaos, another woman, Selena Lechuga, was arrested for allegedly spitting on the LAPD sergeant involved in the arrest of Nava.

The confrontation was caught on cell phone video that was widely broadcast and viewed millions of times on Facebook. In the video, the sergeant tells Nava to get out of her seat. She asks for an explanation and then calls him an epithet. He then removes her from the train.

The sergeant used “curbside justice” to grab Nava by one arm and wrist, then he took her off the train and slammed her against a wall, the suit alleges.

Nava, who was then handcuffed and arrested, weighs 120 pounds, far less than Hutchings, and posed no threat to him, according to the complaint.

Nava talked about her alleged ordeal during a news conference earlier this year, in which she wore a brace on her right wrist, saying she had a panic attack during the confrontation.

“I feel like my rights were violated,” she said. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”

The other plaintiff alleges she was getting off a train at the Highland Park station on Oct. 4, 2017, when an LAPD member identified only as Officer Kelly forced her to the ground and began kicking her legs. He subsequently slammed her against his motorcycle, then dragged her behind a pole, where he continued to assault her, the suit alleges.

The officer also rubbed himself against the girl in a sexual way, according to the suit, which says she was walking peacefully at the station and was not a threat to him.

The girl weighed about 115 pounds and Kelly about 220 pounds, the suit states.

Both plaintiffs contend that Kelly and Hutchings filed false police reports to cover up their alleged use of excessive force.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.