Woman accuses two Pasco officers of using excessive force and discrimination

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KENNEWICK, Wash. —  A Pasco woman filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the City of Pasco claiming two officers  wrongfully detained her and used unreasonable and excessive force on her three years ago.

33 year old Maria Davila-Marquaz  says the police were looking for a teenage girl who caused a disturbance when they saw her walking along Road 60 North in Pasco back on May 21,2009.

Maria says she didn’t have any ID on her and she didn’t speak English.  She claims the two Pasco officers, Ryan Flanagan and Zachary Fairley started questioning her and when she acted scarred and confused they handcuffed her and brutally forced her head on top of a hot patrol car.  Maria was left with burns on her cheek and bruises up and down her arms.

With her lawyer, Vito de la Cruz translating, at  the Tamaki Law Offices she said through tears, “I want there to be justice, I feel terribly, I was discriminated against and I want there to be justice.”

Tamaki law offices filed a suit in Federal court Friday against the city of Pasco, the two officers, and Chief Robert Metzger saying they violated Divila-Marquez’s common and civil rights by using unreasonable and excessive force.

de la Cruz says officers shoved Maria into the back of one Officer Flanagan’s patrol vehicle, where she was kept, her face burning, her body hurting, until the residents from Taft Drive who had seen the disturbance and phoned in the complaint were brought to the scene.   No one identified her as the teenager who caused the disruption on Taft Drive.  “The officers had brutally attacked an innocent mother,” de la Cruz stated.

He says instead of seeking medical treatment for Maria’s burns, or driving her home, they released her at the scene but charged her, according to the complaint, with “hindering police in violation of the Pasco Municipal Code,” a charge that was dropped by Pasco’s prosecuting attorney.

The legal complaint filed Friday includes seven “causes of legal action,” including two that cite her constitutional rights were violated.  “There are limits to the force officers may use in certain circumstances.  These men crossed that line with this helpless, innocent woman,” said attorney De la Cruz.

“Maria is a U.S. citizen, works hard, pays her taxes, and contributes to her community and her country.  The Constitution protects everyone.  Like Rosa Parks on the bus years ago, Maria Davila did nothing to deserve the treatment she received by Pasco police officers,” says de la Cruz.

Pasco Police Chief Robert Metzger says he was not chief at the time of the incident and has not seen the law suit papers, and was not yet served.  He says typically, their policy prohibits the city from commenting on pending litigation.