An ex-convict who was slapped with a nine-year prison term for leading police officers in a 40-minute car chase in 2016 filed yesterday a police brutality lawsuit in federal court against the Department of Public Safety, DPS Commissioner Robert A. Guerrero, and some police officers.
Vincent San Nicolas Norita is suing DPS and Guerrero for violation of his Civil Rights Act, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.
Norita is also suing police officers Stanley Patris and Carlo Evangelista for violation of the Civil Rights Act, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.
Norita, through counsel Rene C. Holmes is suing in the U.S. District Court for the NMI for damages.
He wants the court to direct DPS to implement procedures for hiring, retention, promotion, training, and disciplining law enforcement personnel to prevent the use of excessive force, and assault of persons.
Holmes stated in the complaint that on the evening of Dec. 9, 2016, a police officer saw a white car being driven fast on Beach Road. The officer attempted a traffic stop on the car, which was being driven by Norita. The passenger was Joe E. Ada.
Other officers joined in a pursuit, including officers Patris and Evangelista.
Holmes said the car with Norita and Ada later overturned and the two climbed out of the vehicle and stood near it.
Holmes said Patris approached Norita and Ada and instructed them to get to the ground.
The lawyer said despite Norita already lying on the ground and complying with orders, Patris brutally beat Norita with his baton.
Holmes said Evangelista also used his baton and beat Norita while he lay defenseless on the ground.
Holmes said Norita believed he was going to die during the beating.
The lawyer said a bystander filmed Patris’ and Evangelista’s excessive beating of Norita and Ada with their batons.
She said that despite injuries to Norita’s hand, the two officers handcuffed Norita and left him to lie on the ground in pain.
Holmes said that despite having just beaten Norita repeatedly, the officers kneeled on Norita’s face and neck while they handcuffed him.
Holmes said paramedics arrived on scene and when they began to question Norita about his injuries, the two officers told the medics to leave Norita alone.
The lawyer said after depriving Norita of on-scene medical care, instead of transporting him to the hospital, the officers took him from the scene to the DPS office because they wanted to conduct a breathalyzer test on him.
Holmes said after speaking with Norita, the officers realized he did not have an odor of alcohol on his breath, so they did not conduct the breathalyzer.
Instead of taking Norita for medical care, he was taken from the DPS office to the jail for booking, Holmes said.
Holmes said the Corrections officer refused to accept Norita because of his injuries. Only at this time did the two officers obtain medical treatment for Norita by taking him to the emergency room.
Holmes said as a result, Norita suffered severe injuries on his head, back, arm, and leg.
The lawyer said Norita had swelling and extreme pain in several parts of his body and was diagnosed with a fractured hand, rib, and leg.
She said Norita’s injuries required follow-up treatment and his hand is permanently disfigured.
“Mr. Norita continues to have pain in his hand and leg and diminished use of his leg because of the unreasonable and excessive use of force,” Holmes said.
The lawyer said Patris and Evangelista were not criminally prosecuted and remain employed by DPS despite having committed grave misconduct and abuse of authority.
Holmes said DPS and Guerrero violated Norita’s rights by, among other things, permitting a policy or practice whereby Patris and/or Evangelista were on the police force and by failing to provide supervision and/or proper training regarding use of force and constitutional rights,
Norita pleaded guilty to traffic charges. In May 2017, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho sentenced him to nine years imprisonment, to be served day for day without probation.