A high school student who is suing the city of Los Angeles, alleging she was wrongfully removed, handcuffed and arrested in January by a police sergeant for putting her feet on a Metro train seat, was not a victim of excessive force, the City Attorney’s Office says in newly filed court papers.

Bethany Nava’s lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on July 25, alleges unreasonable search and seizure, unlawful detention and arrest unlawful search and seizure, assault, battery, sexual battery, negligence, civil rights violations and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

“The force used against plaintiff, if any, was caused and necessitated by the actions of plaintiff, and was reasonable and necessary for self-defense,” according to the City Attorney’s Office’s court papers.

Any damages Nava suffered were due to her own negligence and any fault a jury may find against the city should be reduced by taking into consideration the plaintiff’s own conduct, according to the City Attorney’s Office’s court papers.

Nava, then 18, 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, her suit alleges.

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