SLO County pays settlement in brutalization case
October 3, 2013
A Nipomo family allegedly brutalized by a sheriff’s deputy during a stop for a minor traffic violation in 2012 agreed to a $150,000 settlement from San Luis Obispo County.
In July 2012, deputy Steven Hurl pulled behind Jesus Ruiz who had been driving approximately 15 miles over the speed limit. Ruiz had just pulled into a driveway after leaving church
Hurl pointed a gun at the alleged speeder, called for backup, began yelling commands, shot Ruiz in the back and then the side with a Taser gun, elbowed him in the head and clubbed him repeatedly, according to the lawsuit filed in January by attorney James McKiernan.
Hearing the commotion, Ruiz’s girlfriend Ashley Rodriquez, his mother Alma Gutierrez and his brother Edward Gutierrez stepped out of the home at 257 Vintage Street.
One of the deputies allegedly approached Rodriquez, a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy who had a tumor removed from her hip a few months earlier, and kneed her in the back causing her to fall to the ground and knocking her wig from her head. The same officer then charged Alma Gutierrez and kneed her in the crotch “causing her extensive vaginal bleeding.”
Three of the four alleged victims required medical treatment for their injuries.
Gutierrez then filed a complaint with the sheriff’s department alleging three deputies used unnecessary physical violence against four members of her family. An investigation by the sheriff’s department determined one of three officers accused of excessive force had acted inappropriately.
Hurl, a recent hire who was under probation at the time of the incident, was let go 10 days after the incident.