Charge: excessive force, perjury
Date: May 9th, 2008
Location: Three Trees parking lot on W. Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz
Donna Deiss Describes Her Interaction with SCPD Sergeant Christian LeMoss:
"Sgt. Christian LeMoss badge # 114 of the Santa Cruz PD appeared suddenly at Lot A on West Cliff Drive wearing all black in an unmarked car ~5:30 PM on Friday May 9 in front of a random group of homeless and others. He said he wanted to talk to everyone and his attitude was extremely repugnant and mean. I am a friend to the kids that hang out here and try to be a good friend and role model as this lot has been the last place of refuge for many youth who have been routinely detained and harassed in downtown Santa Cruz. I am 60 years old and a permanently disabled marine pipefitter, 5'2". My disabilities include lower back, hip surgery 1 and a half years ago, chronic depression, arthritis and bone spurs in my neck and left knee, as well as a broken left femur. I am known as an activist in the Santa Cruz community regarding tenants rights and homelessness.
"Two SCPD had showed up the morning before with complaints about dogs off leach etc. none of which have anything to do with me. I went to my RV to put sugar in a half paper cup of lukewarm coffee. I grabbed the slanted handicap grabbar on the right side of my doorwary as the step is missing and it takes strenth to step inside as it is about three feet up. As I reached behind me to close the door, Sgt LeMoss pinched and deliberately broke my upper right arm twisting my arm behind my back and throwing me out of the RV against the car parked next to me, spilling coffee on my skin, tank top, the [car] parked next to me and on my RV. He put me in handcuffs although I screamed my arm was broken, but he threw me onto the blacktop and put his boot on my chest swinging his billy club and hitting me while threatening all others from helping me with his billy club. I screamed for 20 or 30 minutes before anyone would call 911 and was taken to Watsonville Hospital where x-rays clearly show a fracture of the top of the right humerus bone. After 5 days the bruises are still dark purple and I am scheduled to see an orthopedic surgeon for surgery tomorrow.
"First the other 6 cops who arrived after I was already in handcuffs said there was an anonymous tip that people were smoking pot outside in the lot. Secondly SCPD said it was a drug sting. NO marijuana or other drugs were found. Many showed their medical marijuana cards and IDs as is routinely done by officers downtown.Never has an entire group of people who happen to be in a particular lot at the beach. I am charged with resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and marijuana although nothing was found."
The Santa Cruz Police Department had issued a press release on the date of the incident in which they claimed "When the officer attempted to detain Ms. Deiss she threw a cup of hot liquid onto his face. Despite being burned, the officer was able to control and eventually take Ms. Deiss into custody ." Deiss claims the officer never properly detained her, was not in uniform, did not identify himself as a police officer, and had no reason to detain her, much less grab her violently, spin her onto a parked car, cuff her, then throw her on the ground breaking her arm. The cup of coffee she had been holding in her left hand spilled everywhere including on Ms. Deiss. No marijuana was found on Ms. Deiss at the time of her arrest.
Donna Deiss has had all charges but one dropped. She faced a single charge of 148 (a) PC of resisting arrest. Misdemeanor charges of assault on a police officer and possession of marijuana have been dropped without explanation. Deiss accepted a plea deal of community service on the lone remaining charge of 'resisting arrest.'
When police assault and batter someone, it is standard procedure for the police and the DA to charge the victim with "battery on an officer" and "resisting arrest" to justify the excessive force.
- Sgt. LeMoss #114 Santa Cruz PD breaks arm of 60 year old disabled woman without cause
- Donna Deiss facing 'resisting arrest' charge; all other charges dropped
- Donna Deiss police brutality criminal trial abruptly ends