LONG BEACH, CA – Garcia, Artigliere & Medby, a Long Beach-based law firm, filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Officer Risana Nowell for assault and battery of Sasha Walters, a 15-year-old minor with Asperger’s Syndrome. The lawsuit alleges that while off duty, Ms. Nowell violently attacked and battered Ms. Walters who was walking her service dog on a public sidewalk and unlawfully arrested her using excessive force. As a result, Ms. Walters suffered a fractured left clavicle, extreme pain and suffering, and mental anguish which exacerbated her pre-existing Asperger’s syndrome.
“Ms. Nowell’s ability to abuse her authority against a minor is hard to comprehend,” said Founding Partner Stephen M. Garcia. “As a disabled minor, our client deserves protection and justice for the unwarranted treatment she received.”
Background On April 1, 2014, Ms. Walters was walking with her service dog on a sidewalk in Huntington Beach, California, in front of Ms. Nowell’s home, when Ms. Nowell’s pit bull terrier began barking at her service dog then charged toward them. Ms. Walters pleaded that she take control of her dog, instead Ms. Nowell stormed out of her garage to the sidewalk stating, “I am a cop. You hit me. You are in trouble now.” Ms. Walters had neither hit Ms. Nowell nor entered her property.
Ms. Nowell continued her violent behavior by yelling offensively and then violently grabbed and twisted Ms. Walters’ left arm into a “cop-hold” or “containment hold”. Ms. Nowell then forcefully dragged Ms. Walters towards her home.
Neighbors who had witnessed the incident implored Ms. Nowell to stop. They called the police who arrived to the scene shortly after. The police officers and Ms. Nowell detained Ms. Walters and did not call an ambulance despite her indicating her state of pain resulting from the violent attack.