Canterbury was one of four officers fired in April after the March 21 arrest of three brothers, including 28-year-old Octavius Johnson. Johnson was grabbed from behind, thrown to the ground and later struck several times while on the ground by Canterbury. Police were unaware at the time that a neighbor was recording the arrest, and the footage surfaced online.
Canterbury, a Marine Corps veteran who was hired by the department in 2008, was the only officer to appeal his firing to an arbitrator.
The county has paid $727,500 to settle a civil rights lawsuit by a South County woman who accused sheriff’s deputies of storming her house, slamming her face into the ground, taking her to jail and seizing her children – all because she refused to answer the door.
Nancy Butano’s lawsuit – stemming from her arrest Feb. 2, 2010, inside her home in San Juan Capistrano – is one of a series of excessive force complaints against South County sheriff’s deputies that have cost Orange County taxpayers more than $5.7 million in settlements and verdicts in the past four years.
The deputies identified the suspect as Butano’s boyfriend, veterinarian Paul Luddy, and arrested him after he stepped out of the house. He did not have the knife with him, said court papers.
Stumph and Martino returned to the open door and heard Butano speaking on a wireless telephone. They called her to the door, but she declined, saying she was on an important business call. The deputies continued urging her to come to the door. And she continued to refuse.
In her lawsuit, Butano said the deputies entered the home, shouting, cursing and telling her to get off the telephone. She told them that she did not invite them in and did not want them there.
Stumph grabbed Butano, described as 35 years old and 120 pounds, and they both ended up going out of the home’s open sliding glass door into the back yard, court papers say. She said the deputy slammed her head against an outdoor sauna and smashed her face five times into the ground while handcuffing her, his knee on her back.
In court documents, the deputies said they entered because they feared that evidence – the knife – was being destroyed or hidden, one of the conditions allowed for warrantless entry under Fourth Amendment search and seizure laws. The deputies also said they were concerned with the safety of the children, given the missing knife.
As deputies escorted Butano outside to a patrol car, a neighbor asked why she was being arrested. Stumph replied, “She’s a bitch … she wouldn’t go with the program,” said the court summary.
A witness shot the video on a cell phone. It shows the final moments of the standoff, when deputies were ordering Manuel Longoria to surrender. The deputies had their weapons drawn and fired five bean bag rounds at the suspect, in addition to Taser rounds.
Longoria appeared to be moving his arms around, and did not appear to be cooperating with the deputies. Seconds later, the video shows Longoria turn his back on the deputies and raise both hands into the air, high over his head. One second later, a lone deputy fired two shots, killing Longoria.
But a former DPS and Scottsdale Police Officer Jess Torrez disagreed after viewing the video.
“You have multiple police officers on the scene and only one person makes the shot. That tells me that other officers at the scene did not feel there was justification to use deadly physical force,” said Torrez.
Torrez said despite Longoria’s behavior during the chase and initial part of the standoff, the only actions that were central to a decision to shoot, occurred right before the deputy opened fire.
“Officers are taught to look at the hands first and foremost. So if his hands are up in the air, he doesn’t have anything in them. How do they justify using deadly force?” asked Torrez.
A paralyzed man convicted of resisting arrest and hitting a Chicago police officer in a 2006 incident is suing the city and several of its police officers for violating his civil rights. Daniel Casares, who is a quadriplegic, says that police pulled him from his vehicle and beat him even after he told them that he was paralyzed and could not get out of the car.
He also says that because of physical condition, he does not have the physical ability to strike the officer he was convicted of hitting. Casares is unable to move his legs and has limited range of motion in his arms.
The alleged police brutality incident happened while Casares was sitting in the passenger side of his car next to his brother. Chicago police arrived to arrest his brother, who was under suspicion of using marijuana. Casares was ordered to exit the vehicle, and this is when he says he repeatedly told them he was unable to get out of the car.
Three police officers that testified at Casares’s criminal trial offer a different account. They claim that they never drew their guns during the altercation and accuse Casares of hitting a female cop when she asked him to exit his car.
In 2007, CNN published statistics reporting that the City of Chicago received over 10,000 complaints against its police officers between 2002 and 2004. Many of these reports alleged assault and brutality.