Strathmore man says TCSO deputies severely beat him, unlawfully detained him

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A Strathmore man says a group of Tulare County Sheriff's deputies severely beat him, then denied him proper medical care (KFSN)

A Strathmore man says a group of Tulare County Sheriff's deputies severely beat him, then denied him proper medical care and unlawfully detained him for hours. He says he filed a complaint with the county, but got denied, so he filed a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges assault, battery, false imprisonment, violation of civil rights, and infliction of emotional distress at the hands of a number of unknown Tulare County Sheriff's deputies.

Visalia attorney Matthew Owdom says his client, Ramiro Huerta, called Porterville Police about suspicious activity in his Strathmore neighborhood last April.

Through a series of contentious calls with the department, Owdom says his client was told that he lives outside their jurisdiction and that they would not respond.

Huerta, who lives with his mother and father, then went to bed.

"About an hour later, there was loud knocking at the door, and it turned out to be a group of Tulare County Sheriff's deputies," Owdom said.

Those deputies, Owdom says, demanded that Huerta come outside, but he refused, saying that everything was ok.

Owdom says Huerta thought the deputies left, but when he went outside to close a gate, he was allegedly tackled by one, and then beaten by many others.

Owdom believes between eight and ten deputies were involved in the beating, using their boots and batons to kick and hit Huerta.

They allegedly pepper-sprayed him too.

Huerta suffered three separate facial fractures, impaired vision in one eye, and a shoulder injury.

Owdom says the deputies did not allow Huerta to be fully examined at Sierra View Medical Center, and that a female deputy made a homophobic remark to Huerta at the hospital.

Huerta, Owdom says, was then unlawfully detained at the Tulare County Sheriff's Office Porterville substation until the following morning.

He then walked home to Strathmore.

"We do know for a fact that sheriff's deputies were inside because they left some of their property, either sunglasses or keys, which they later had to go out and retrieve," Owdom said.

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said, "Our office is aware of the allegation which is pending litigation. This complaint and every complaint received by the Tulare County Sheriff's Office is meticulously reviewed. At this time, there is no evidence to support the allegation. Due to the pending litigation, we are unable to elaborate on our
position or the circumstances of the incident."

"It's all in the photographic evidence and the hospital records," Owdom said. "This is real."

Owdom now hopes to learn the identities of all the deputies and understand what role Porterville Police played in the incident.

He believes his client, who was never charged with a crime, was beaten because he complained to them and challenged their supremacy.
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