Attorneys for a Black teenage girl who was allegedly body-slammed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy working as a school resource officer at Lancaster High School in 2021 want a judge to order the county and the Antelope Valley Union High School District to turn over the deputy’s personnel records.
The plaintiff, born in 2004, is identified only as Jane Doe 1 in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought against the county, the Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Daniel Acquilano and the AVUHSD.
“If Acquilano has a history of targeting Black students and/or a history of excessive use of force, that information would be undoubtedly relevant in this case,” the plaintiff’s attorneys state in their court papers filed Friday with Judge Armen Tamzarian, who is scheduled to hold a hearing on their motion April 17.
Good reason exists to order production of Acquilano’s personnel records because he “interfered with plaintiff’s right to bodily integrity and her right to attend school without fear of violence by body slamming her to the ground,” Doe’s attorneys further state in their court papers.
Acquilano will be called as a witness at trial by Doe’s attorneys, who will ask him many questions regarding his prior track record, complaints against him, investigations of those complaints and his training records, the plaintiff’s lawyers state in their court papers.
“These relevant records are undoubtedly contained in his personnel file,” Doe’s attorneys state in their court papers.
Attorneys for the county and the district deny any liability and state that the plaintiff is not entitled to damages, according to their court papers.
The incident was recorded on video and occurred Aug. 30, 2021, 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 filed last May 4 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.
She returned to school for one day on Sept. 3, 2021, 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.
Doe was left “physically and emotionally devastated,” the suit states.