San Benito County brutality suit may be heading toward settlement

Hollister – A lawsuit against San Benito County and the
Sheriff’s Department for civil rights violations concerning the
alleged beating of an elderly Hollister resident by two deputies
could end in a settlement, according to the man’s lawyer.
Hollister – A lawsuit against San Benito County and the Sheriff’s Department for civil rights violations concerning the alleged beating of an elderly Hollister resident by two deputies could end in a settlement, according to the man’s lawyer. One of the deputies accused of beating the man is also facing possible termination from the department regarding an unrelated alleged assault on another man at a baseball playoff game last October, according to the sheriff.

Jose Jimenez, 71, claims he was beaten by sheriff’s deputies David Zander and David Hackman and filed the suit in Federal Court in San Jose last November. The suit names the deputies, the county and Sheriff Curtis Hill.

Jimenez’s attorney, Bill Marder, said the county responded to the suit a couple months ago saying it would fight the suit in court and didn’t admit to any wrong doing on the part of the two deputies. Marder said a judge will most likely order the two sides to mediate when the suit goes back to court in April, which could lead to a settlement.

“It’s the most common thing in Federal Court,” Marder said. “It saves everyone a lot of money on going to trial, and there’s also the unknown of a trial. If you mediate you have input in the result.”

Marder didn’t elaborate on the dollar amount he’s seeking, but said based on Jimenez’s injuries he would expect it to be in the six-figure range.

Hackman’s attorney, Muna Busailah, did not return phone calls Tuesday.

Jimenez claimed in the suit that Hackman and Zander allegedly arrested Jimenez last April, and during the arrest kicked and beat him with a flashlight – breaking his ribs – and booked him in the county jail without taking him to the hospital.

Hackman’s legal troubles don’t stop with the alleged beating, however. The deputy, who has been on paid medical leave from the department on and off for more than a year, was charged by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office with felony battery for allegedly attacking a man while off duty at a Boston Red Sox/Anaheim Angels baseball playoff game in Anaheim last October. The attack left the man with a fractured skull and two fractured vertebrae, according to Michael Pear, deputy district attorney for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Hackman is set to appear in an Orange County Superior Court on March 22 for a preliminary hearing, where a judge will decide if Hackman should be tried for the crime based on the evidence, Pear said. His attorney for the felony assault charge, Ron Brower, did not return phone calls Tuesday.

After the alleged assault in Anaheim, Hill initiated an internal investigation into Hackman that was finished about a month ago, he said. Hill said he can’t disclose what the internal investigation revealed because it’s a personnel issue, but that he will make his decision regarding Hackman’s future on the force after the preliminary hearing.

“Everything up to including termination. That’s the strongest language someone in my business can speak to,” Hill said. “But the prelim is a whole different animal. I’m interested in seeing how that plays out in the courts. The bottom line is that people are held accountable for their actions.”

Leave your comments