Pasco Woman Wins $100,000 Settlement Against Pasco PD
Maria Davila-Marquez reached a $100,000 settlement of the federal civil rights lawsuit she filed in May 2012 against two Pasco Police officers and the Pasco Police Department.
The lawsuit accused two Pasco Police officers of violating Maria’s constitutional rights when, in a case of mistaken identity involving elements of racial profiling, they stopped and arrested her without probable cause.
During the course of the arrest, the officers forced her arms behind her back and shoved Maria’s face onto the hood of a patrol car that was so hot that it inflicted a second degree burn to her face.
On May 21, 2009, the two officers responded to a call of a girl causing a disturbance in front of a house along Taft Avenue in Pasco.
The girl was described as a Hispanic teenager, wearing jean shorts, sporting long black hair with highlights who spoke English and who had an on-going problem with the complaining citizen.
Davila-Marquez, 30-years-old at the time, and a mother of four children, was a naturalized American citizen who didn't speak English very well.
Maria had just completed her shift at Tyson’s Food where she worked and was walking as she usually did to pick up her children from their babysitter.
“The only commonalities between Maria and the teenaged girl who was causing the disturbance on Taft Avenue were that Maria was female and Hispanic,” said her attorney Vito De la Cruz. “Nothing else matched to provide a constitutionally legal basis to stop this poor woman.”
De la Cruz said Ms. Davila-Marquez repeatedly asked the officers for a Spanish-speaking officer or an interpreter to help her communicate and respond to the questions, but the officers refused.
When the police officers could not verify Maria’s name through their computerized searches, the officers used painful wrist locks to force her hands behind her back, and pushed her face onto the hood of the car, resulting in burns to her face and muscular-skeletal strains to her shoulder, upper back and neck.
Ms. Davila-Marquez was charged with hindering a police investigation and had to miss work to appear at several court hearings to defend against the charge.
After over a year of court hearings the hindering charge was ultimately dismissed by the court for lack of evidence.