BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man who claims he suffered a concussion and scrapes to his head and face during a 2020 arrest is suing the Bakersfield Police Department for alleged battery, false imprisonment and civil rights violations.
The lawsuit filed by Matthew Alan Hearn states a routine traffic stop turned violent when Officer Christian Walter Hernandez V twisted his arm and dragged him from the vehicle, using “unnecessarily excessive force.” It says Herndandez muted the microphone on his body camera several times during the incident.
Prosecutors charged Hearn with four misdemeanors — including two counts of battery on a peace officer — and two infractions in connection with the traffic stop. A judge acquitted him of all charges, court records show.
The judge found the arrest unlawful and said the handcuffs placed on Hearn were too tight, according to the lawsuit.
Filed in December, the suit was listed on Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors agenda.
The events leading to Hearn’s arrest began when he was pulled over by Hernandez and a probation officer on Chester Avenue north of West Columbus Street.
Hearn questioned Hernandez’s attitude and why he pulled him over, “which agitated defendant Hernandez,” the suit says. In retaliation, the suit says, Hernandez told Hearn he was under arrest, grabbed his arm and started pulling him from the vehicle.
Tangled in his seat belt, Hearn asked to remove it but Hernandez twisted his arm and shoved him against the car to handcuff him, according to the suit.
The probation officer falsely accused Hearn of spitting at her and officers placed a spit mask on him, “further humiliating him and restricting his liberties without legal justification,” according to the suit. Hearn was then detained in a police car for more than an hour before driven to Kern Medical to draw blood for chemical testing.
Afterward, Hernandez forced Hearn to another room and pushed him into a wall, causing Hearn to hit his head, the suit says. Hernandez and other law enforcement officers are alleged to have further injured Hearn while restraining him to a gurney.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled June 8.