Pete Demetriou

(VIDEO) Flower Vendor Suing Riverside Sheriff's Dept. for Excessive Force

November 19, 2018 - 4:46 pm

(KNX 1070) -- A woman who was arrested in Perris last year while selling flowers is filing a lawsuit against the County of Riverside, Sheriff Stanley Sniff Jr. and Deputy Heuer for unlawful detention and use of excessive force.

Warning: This video contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised. 

Cell phone video, taken by a witness, shows the arrest of Joaquina Valencia, a 47-year-old woman who is a U.S. citizen, by a Riverside Sheriff's Motorcycle officer. Valencia struggled and screamed while she was taken down to the ground and handcuffed after she being questioned about her sale of flowers on Perris Blvd.

"No human being deserves to be treated like that," Joaquina Valencia said in Spanish during a news conference Monday announcing her complaint against Riverside County, the sheriff and one of the deputies involved.

Criminal charges of resisting arrest and giving false information to a police officer were dismissed two months ago, partly due to insufficient evidence since the arresting deputy’s body cam did not record the incident.  

Attorneys Luis Carrillo and Ralph Rios announced their intention to file a civil lawsuit against the department. 

The Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. said in a statement that the arrest was done as part of citing non-permitted vendors in Perris and Valencia’s lack of cooperation and proper ID were the reasons of why she was detained

"A person selling flowers is making a living, and for him to start asking about papers that shows he has a racist frame of mind to assume she’s not a U.S. citizen," Carrillo said. "The entire Riverside Sheriff's Department has a mentality that has to be removed, they have to fire those kinds of deputies."