A Los Feliz bartender is suing the city of Los Angeles and an LAPD detective, alleging she was wrongfully arrested as an assault suspect in 2019 merely because she had green hair like the actual perpetrator.
Kimberly Garcia’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against the city and Detective David Miner alleges civil rights violations, negligence, false imprisonment and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. She seeks unspecified damages in the complaint filed Thursday.
A representative for the City Attorney’s Office could not be immediately reached for comment.
Miner and other LAPD officers went to the Ye Rustic Inn bar on Hillhurst Avenue where Garcia worked about 7:30 p.m. on May 25, 2019, looking for a suspect involved in an assault that occurred at the nearby Laundry Room-Fluff & Fold Service, the suit states. The suspect was a female with green highlights in her hair and Garcia also had green hair, according to the suit.
Garcia had been a bartender at Ye Rustic Inn for over seven years and was well known throughout the community and to patrons at the tavern, the suit states. She also knew the man who was assaulted because Garcia often did her washing at the laundromat, according to her court papers.
“The only fact that somehow connected Garcia to the crime was that she had similar hair color as the person identified as a suspect,” the suit says.
Miner and the other LAPD officers approached the plaintiff as she was taking a customer’s order, according to the complaint.
“Garcia was ordered to stop what she was doing and step outside,” the suit states.
She obeyed and was “forcefully arrested and placed in handcuffs” in front of a full house of patrons on Memorial Day weekend as a Lakers game was airing on television, the suit states.
Garcia, who was released about 5:30 a.m. the next day after posting bail, says she spoke to the victim of the assault, who told her the LAPD never showed him a photo of the plaintiff or asked him about her. He said that had they done so, he would have told them she was not his assailant, the suit states.
Before she was arrested, no one identified Garcia as a suspect, but Miner and the other officers instead acted on a random tip that a girl with green hair was a bartender in the area, the suit alleges.
“On that random tip, without any further information, investigation or facts to establish a connection to the crime, or probable cause, Garcia was forced to undergo an arrest at her place of employment in front of her co-workers, friends and patrons of the restaurant,” the suit says.
Miner and his colleagues later determined that Garcia was not a suspect, according to the suit, which says Miner contacted Garcia four days after her arrest and told her she was “wrongfully arrested” and that there would be no prosecution.
The next day, Garcia was awakened by a loud pounding on her door and LAPD officers waiting outside handcuffed and arrested the partially clothed plaintiff once again, the suit states. Garcia repeatedly asked the officers to call Miner and overheard one of them who did so trying to justify why he had arrested Garcia again, the suit alleges.
After the officer ended the phone call with Miner, Garcia was released, according to her court papers. She maintains the arrests have caused her financial losses and emotional distress.