Police Abuse

Lawsuit Alleges California Cops Used Excessive Force on Teens for Walking Through a Neighborhood

The Delano Police Department cleared its officers of wrongdoing.


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing a California police department for using excessive force to arrest a teenager who walked through a residential neighborhood while on his way to get prom tickets.

A lawsuit states that the interaction between then-high school student Pablo Simental Jr. and officers with the Delano Police Department (DPD) occurred on April 11, 2019. Simental and three of his friends were walking to Wonderful College Prep Academy to get prom tickets. The trip took them through a residential neighborhood.

While in the neighborhood, the suit alleges that DPD officers, including Ruben Ozuna, Michael Strand, and Guadalupe Contreras, approached the teens and began to question them. The teens invoked their right to remain silent.

That's when the lawsuit says the officers used excessive force on the teens, some of which was captured on video and shared on social media.

VIDEO: Delano Police investigating officer use of force incident

Delano Police are investigating several videos circulating on social media, including one that appears to show one officer tackling a teenager.Take a look below: https://bit.ly/2IhcQZo

Posted by 23ABC Bakersfield on Friday, April 12, 2019

The lawsuit alleges that the officers purposefully veered their patrol vehicle toward the teens, almost hitting them, and began conducting arrests for jaywalking. The behavior worsened after the Simental and the other teens pulled their cellphones out and began to film the officers. The officers reportedly tried to take the phones by force, forcing some teens to the ground and handcuffing them. Ozuna ran toward Simental, body-slammed him, and put his body on top of Simental to handcuff him tightly.

The lawsuit says this caused "severe pain."

Though criminal charges were not filed against Simental in court, he remained in jail for several hours with his hands cuffed tightly behind his back.

Following the incident, Simental received a letter stating that the DPD conducted an investigation and exonerated the officers of misconduct.

The ACLU is now suing the officers and the city for damages in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California arguing that the defendants violated Simental's First Amendment right against retaliation by reacting with force when the teens questioned the officers and recorded their actions. The ACLU also argues that the defendants violated Simental's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure and excessive force.

The DPD issued the following statement last year about the events, admitting to using force:

The Delano Police Department is aware of videos posted to Facebook showing officers making several arrests on the 2400 block of Liverno Drive. These subjects were initially found in the roadway and refused officers' orders to move. Officers attempted to detain them however, they refused to comply. Force was then used to make arrests, some of which can be seen in the video.

Whether Simental and his friends were simply walking through a neighborhood or jaywalking, like the cops claim, neither action is ever egregious enough for force to be used in such a manner.

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  1. I don’t understand why you feel compelled to tack on that past paragraph. As a rule, readers don’t like being talked down to. They can figure shit out for themselves.

    1. Exactly. That sort of editorializing can be added to the comments. Come on in, Zuri. There’s nothing to fear…….

      1. I mean, it would be one thing if Reason were known for releasing articles of deep philosophical import, but the little bromides they dispense are trivialities any high schooler could come up with.

        1. The monthly magazine still has some good well thought out articles. The hit and run section is generally just following the news cycle with a small hint of libertarianism in it if you squint just write.

          1. If there is any, it seems to be by accident more often than not lately.

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          2. The articles on the Reason Foundation site seem pretty good too. I should spend some more time with those.

      2. I dunno, I was on the cops’ side until the end

        1. I mean, what if they jaywalked multiple times?

    2. WHAT “past paragraph?”

  2. These subjects were initially found in the roadway and refused officers’ orders to move.

    Then they’ll have no problem releasing the dashcam footage to prove it, right?

    1. Unfortunately the video exonerating our noble civil servants was misplaced. A blue ribbon committee has been formed to devise new policies and procedures for the handling of video evidence. Nothing to see here, citizen, please move along.

    2. No need for the video. We can rely on the union rep’s assertion that “procedures were followed.”

      1. Did the cops make it home safe that night? Isn’t that all that really matters?

        1. The FBI agents investigating it said the kids admit it in their written report.

  3. residential neighborhood while on his way to get prom tickets.

    “Prom tickets” is young people slang for Krokodil.

    1. Shut the fuck up turd burglar.

  4. “neither action is ever egregious enough for force to be used in such a manner.”

    However, to be sure, just going outside a year later certainly IS cause for a beatdown.

    (they came for the promgoers, and I said nothing, because my prom was so long ago the teachers actually knew the students, and tickets were not needed)

    1. >>>my prom was so long ago …

      prom theme was by Climax Blues Band

      1. ‘Fraid not. The Climax Chicago Blues Band wasn’t formed until after I graduated high school.
        They didn’t become Climax Blues Band until I was out of college.

        1. good band. (sorry) meant my prom …

  5. After going through all that for prom tickets, I hope they get some action on prom night.

  6. They disobeyed unlawful commands. They’re lucky to be alive.

  7. They look like a bunch of white kids. Cops normally handle white people with kid gloves, so obviously these kids must have been murder suspects or something to provoke such actions.


    1. Littering.
      And creating a public nuisance.

      1. Mopery with intent to creep.

    2. There are white people still in Delano? Other than the cops and farm landowners? It’s a one-horse ag town in the Valley off 99. Not pleasant.

      No, the cops shouldn’t have beaten on the kids. Yes, I wonder why the cops went full PigTard in this particular instance. Maybe it was the heat?

      And Yes, I wonder what actually happened here. Because I doubt this article tells the full story. OTOH, the kids might win the barrio lottery, so go them.

      1. It’s big enough to have two horses! Most whites do live outside the city though. But while most poeple in the city are brown, that doesn’t mean they’re all chicano. It’s has one of the largest Filipino populations in the state.

        1. Mmmmmm. Pansit. And Banana lumpia.

          Is there anything in Filipino cuisine that isn’t fried? Besides the weird ice cream they have at Jollibee. So good though. No wonder the Navy forced all of them to be Mess stewards, once upon a time.

  8. What’s the ACLU doing? They investigated and found no wrongdoing.

    1. No transgenders, no abortions, no interest.

    2. “What’s the ACLU doing?”

      Gracefully accepting that this is what enforcement of their political preference is going to look like. Omelets and eggs…..

  9. Good thing the perps weren’t exercising their 1st, 2nd, or 6th amendment rights. ACLU wants you to roll over for authority on those.

    Fucking cocksuckers. The ACLU is just a prog left outfit. If those had been white guys the lefties would have run away.

  10. Dang, I worked a summer in Delano. I know peeps who live there.

    It’s a tiny agricultural town. I bet 75% of the populace is “brown”, as in mostly Latino of Filipino. So the old excuse that “shouldn’t have been non-white in a white neighborhood” doesn’t apply. It was a stupid excuse anyway. The whole town is probably only a mile and a half from end to end.

    I hope the officers lose their shirts on this one.

    1. “Dang, I worked a summer in Delano.”

      Ouch. O&G? Ag?

      That must’ve been toasty. It gets hot as hell in the Valley in summer, although usually without the ridiculous humidity we deal with on the Gulf Coast. Fresno was bad enough.

  11. Simenthal and his friends learned a tough lesson, but bruises will heal. Others are fucking dead.

    The Lesson: Do not, do not, DO NOT provoke a cop. They have guns, and will use them on you.

    Let the Judge deal with it.

    1. Let the judge deal with it? Get real. Those cops are extremely unlikely to have a judge rule on them.

      A judge might dismiss the (bogus) chages against their victims but the abusers wont be in the court as defendents.

  12. Wonderful College Prep Academy


  13. Hey, I’m walkin’ here!

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