Disabled man files lawsuit against San Luis Obispo police officer

March 14, 2011

By KAREN VELIE

The lawyer for a developmentally disabled Atascadero man, who said he was physically assaulted in March 2010 by an off-duty San Luis Obispo police officer, filed a lawsuit against the city and the officer seeking damages last week.

Scott Summers, 50, said he was the victim of an unjustified assault and battery by police officer Scott Cramer.

“Our primary position is Scott Cramer was acting under color of law assaulting this man and explaining he is a police officer,” said James McKiernan, Summers’ attorney. “We have received two calls that cast suspicion that this is not the first time this has happened.”

On March 18, 2010 Summers, who lives in a disabled housing facility, was happy when a local auto repair shop loaned him a BMW to temporarily replace his old truck, which was being repaired.

On the way to show his father the BMW, Summers passed a red truck on Old Morro Road East in Atascadero. According to the suit, Cramer, with his 8-year-old son in his truck, began racing up to Summers’ bumper engaging in road rage.

Shortly after Summers sat down on his parents’ couch, Cramer ran down the driveway.

Summers stepped outside, on to  his parents’ porch, to find out what the unknown visitor wanted.

“Without any provocation, Officer Cramer began to yell at Summers and then, without warning began punching Summers, including hard blows to his neck and head, next throwing him though his parents closed storm door, breaking the glass and ripping the door from its hinges, and continued the beating inside the parents’ home in front of his aged and infirm parents,” the lawsuit says.

Inside the house, his panicked stepmother called 911.

Summers claimed he was screaming for help and for someone to call 911. Cramer, Summers said, began saying he was a police officer.

Cramer subsequently apologized for his actions, saying that he just found out that a relative had cancer and that he had his 8-year-old son in the car, witnesses said. He then left before Atascadero police arrived after providing his address.

The suit contends that the city of San Luis Obispo has a duty to hire, train and supervise officers to avoid the infliction of harm and excessive force on citizens. The police department, known for bringing ultimate fighting champion Chuck Liddel into the department to teach officers street-fighting techniques, is accused of for not training and supervising officers in a fashion as to avoid harm and the use of excess force upon the public.

In an interesting twist, public records regarding this incident have been kept from Summers and the media. Atascadero Police department’s supervisor, Ann Jutras, contends that the department does not have to release the tape because there was an investigation into the incident. She also said that the department is protecting the privacy rights of the victims.

Both the 911 caller and Summers have given their permission to have the tape released.

The police report, also a public record, was partially provided to Summers without information that a mysterious supplemental report is the reason the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office declined prosecuting Cramer.

Atascadero police have refused to comply to several requests for a copy of the supplemental report under the premise that police reports are not public records.

District Attorney officials, who agreed that police reports are considered public records, said they sent the Atascadero Police report back to the department without making a copy, as the reason they failed to respond to a CalCoastNews records request for the report.

Atascadero police Sgt. Jeff Wilshusen said that the supplemental report states that Cramer claimed the physical altercation was “mutual.”


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49 Comments

  1. racket says:

    From the Mar 24 Fibune:

    Chief Deputy District Attorney Jerret Gran said Wednesday that a battery criminal case was dismissed after prosecutors reviewed it for lack of sufficient evidence.

    Read more: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2011/03/23/1533718/slopd-officer-accused-of-assault.html#ixzz1HWxtUBDj

    (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
    • Nancimeek says:

      I just received a letter from Jerret Gran stating the DA in San Luis Obispo would not be pursuing charges filed against Robert Grigger Jones We submitted evidence Forged documents, affidavit by jones stating the 1st Amendment was signed in his office Forensics reports stating 100% the signatures were forged

      And they are not moving forward and we have submitted through the Atascadero PD letters, evidence, billing statements reflecting Jones was passing around the forged document for at least 4 years.

      Any comments?

      Nanci Meek
      (760) 413-5660

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
      • Cindy says:

        Funny how an attorney can claim that he doesn’t know how forged documents got into his files and get away with it. Can anyone imagine passing a forged document, swearing to the fact that the person (known to them) appeared in their office and signed it and then claiming that they have no idea how they ended up with a forged document? “SOME” attorneys can be such scum just as the dogs that they run with.

        Between the forging of the Meek Last Testament, the (Pi Ji Ho Ta) “hide the Gearhart money game”, conspiracy with Hearst Financial, strong arming A-Town city staff, etc. I can only guess that this guy has acquired a teflon back side.

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  2. CA Native says:

    Another mad dog badge toting thug. This one is lucky to be alive, but he needs some hard prison time where he can show off his badge to the other inmates.

    (14) 20 Total Votes - 17 up - 3 down
  3. mikey says:

    i though that cops where suppose to serve and protect not beat up civilians? and as officers on or off duty they should set a good example of how you are suppose to act and not do things like beat up inocent people or drive a chp camanders car so drunk that they cant stand up! isnt that guy finaly on trial? after two years i belive that they should get harsher punishments not paid supension what is that? fire them and everyone involved! is this why apds last poltce cheif (retired)?

    (11) 15 Total Votes - 13 up - 2 down
    • TAX-dollars says:

      I was told many go in to law enforcement with good intention. , in a short time the so called peace officers are

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
      • TAX-dollars says:

        not well intentioned, become far removed from their initial good intention, and abuse their authority for many reasons. There should be a commission appointed by the state to do the firing because the internal cover-ups whether for liability purposes or the buddy system on who makes the recommendation and those famous police reports, know better as habitual liars.

        (10) 10 Total Votes - 10 up - 0 down
  4. Nancimeek says:

    Atascadero is the ONLY city in California that does NOT provide the victim with a copy of the police report or police investigation. I double checked wtih the Attorney generals office They acted surprised to hear this. Having been a victim vis a vie the Robert M Jones fraud and forgery report filed with the Atascadero PD I know what I am talking about. If you retain a copy of a report WITHOUT a subpoena let me know thanks

    (15) 19 Total Votes - 17 up - 2 down
  5. choprzrul says:

    18 USC § 242:
    Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States….

    It would seem that the victim’s right to be secure in his home was severely violated and should be prosecuted under 18 USC § 242. Now, if the offending officer and 1 or more people conspire to cover this all up, it would seem that 241 also applies:

    18 USC § 241:
    If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;
    or
    If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured…

    It would seem that there are at least 2 Federal charges that would apply here. IMHO, these kind of law enforcement abuses would drop to near zero if we did the following: Upon conviction by any court resultant to oppression of a citizen’s civil rights, each officer involved would be forced to forfeit 25% of their pension to the victim, payable immediately and for the rest of the victim’s life. The only way to stop this is to hit the individual officer in the pocket book.

    Now, DA aside, why hasn’t our county’s grand jury picked this up?

    (27) 29 Total Votes - 28 up - 1 down
    • TheRazor says:

      That’s a hot post. I like it. That’s good fodder for a civil case if Summers were to pursue a lawsuit against the PD.

      (22) 22 Total Votes - 22 up - 0 down
  6. PaulJones says:

    Considering that the disabled Mr Summer was screaming for help and his parents were elderly, they would have been within their rights to just shoot the SOB. That’s exactly what would have happened if Cramer had pulled that at my house. I’d love to pass that jerk and have him try it on with me.

    (26) 32 Total Votes - 29 up - 3 down
    • bobfromsanluis says:

      Paul: While I will not doubt that you could confront an off duty police officer and protect yourself, there really is no reason to suggest that more violence is the answer. Perhaps you commented without fully realizing what you suggested? It looks like you are advocating that you think it is okay to shoot an off duty police officer if you are attacked by one; really? Cooler heads should prevail in situations like Mr. Summer was in; it is fortunate that Officer Cramer stopped his attack before any more injury was inflicted, perhaps he realized how wrong he was.

      (-21) 27 Total Votes - 3 up - 24 down
      • choprzrul says:

        I think that whenever you are in fear of losing your life or suffering grave bodily injury, you are absolutely in the right to use whatever means are at your disposal to stop that threat.

        To suggest otherwise is an attempt to oppress an individual’s fundamental civil rights. As evidence, I present Justice Alito writing for the majority in McDonald v Chicago:

        “Our decision in Heller points unmistakably to the answer. Self-defense is a basic right, recognized by many legal systems from ancient times to the present day, and in Heller, we held that individual self-defense is ‘the central component’ of the Second Amendment right….”

        So yes, if the victim feared for his life, shooting the attacker to stop the threat is a fundamental civil right.

        (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
        • bobfromsanluis says:

          Wow; all I said was that maybe one should really “think” before they take another human being’s life, and the negative thumbs come rolling out. Look, I get it that a lot of conservative types really really like their guns and I have no interest in taking your guns or restricting your ability to have or own guns. In reading the news articles (especially the ones here that seem to have more information) I did not see anywhere that Mr. Summers felt that he feared for his life. The attacker, off duty SLO PD officer Cramer apparently came to his senses and stopped the attack and left on his own accord. I understand that many of you feel that Mr. Summer’s parents had the right to brandish a firearm to stop the attack on their son, which would have been an appropriate response, but I am still amazed that so many seem to be eager to take another person’s life. I am just asking you to think about taking an action that cannot be reversed, ever. Even if doing so would not be a violation of the written law, don’t any of you see a moral issue here in the action of killing another human being? I want to say that you people scare me, but I don’t want to give you the wrong impression; I am not scared of someone who has a firearm, I am scared that there are apparently so many who seem to not have a second thought about shooting another person.

          (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
      • Tired says:

        I think that people are really getting Tired of the the double standard . If I chased down an off duty police officer like this I would have probably have been shot! and because of my size and back ground the shooting would be ruled as just justified in the police report that was public .
        And charged with numerous things like child endangerment!

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
    • Lilylu says:

      If Mr. Summers had shot Mr. Cramer, you can be sure there would have been a huge outcry from the APD and the press with a full on funeral with the Governor there talking about the self-sacrificing officers who daily put their lives in danger to protect us all from deranged mad men. Mr. Summers would have faced the death penalty for killing an officer, and all involved would do everthing in their power to hide the truth and make Mr. Cramer out to be a saint. I hope the truth is revealed in this case and Mr. Summers prevails and is compensated as is just…Even if it is with our tax dollars….And Mr. Cramer should be prosecuted, sentenced and he should be held financially responsible for any settlement against himself and made to pay back the APD(tax payers) for anything they are held responsible for. This may give APD incentive to start recruiting and retainging some decent officers and stop tryin to protect the bad apples.

      (10) 10 Total Votes - 10 up - 0 down
  7. TheRazor says:

    The Atascadero police department should have a public investigation, and relay developments to the media to ensure public trust. The problem with the County of San Luis Obispo — as well as the Atascadero police department — is that they’re not forthcoming with information pertaining to criminal investigations and civil litigation unless one were to have the time and dedicated to pursue public records requests at a snail’s pace. Typically, in this county, public records requests are thwarted by excuses. We can’t pursue justices in reliance to excuses anymore.

    Legally, Mr. Summers can easily prove assault and battery. Cramer apologized, thus acknowledging the facts of the case, which includes the specific intent to manifest a sense of apprehension in the victim and to produce serious, bodily harm. If the physical altercation was, in fact, “mutual,” as allegedly indicated in the supplemental report, it would embolden — not hinder — the prosecution to pursue the case. Mutuality of a physical altercation can result from the victim defending himself (“right to self-defense”). The conditions for self-defense are reasonable. Cramer voluntarily entered the premises owned by Summers’ parents without consent (trespass) after following the victim. Taking these facts into consideration, a reasonable person would be in fear of their personal safety.

    Take the case, Shea. It’s a good one!

    (34) 34 Total Votes - 34 up - 0 down
    • TAX-dollars says:

      Suspended without pay cannot be more than 6 months away!
      Sounds like coaching of a minor confidential witness though.
      But who saw this. Meaning being attacked by police officer under the color of law is the worse including the minor who saw the officer raging in confronting and attacking. Something the officer would be required to see CPS about in exposing a minor to a dangerous situation not even close to protecting. If my guess is correct we want immediate termination rather than suspended. And Cramer quit calling my house asking for my credit card number you wierdo!

      (15) 15 Total Votes - 15 up - 0 down
      • TheRazor says:

        Cramer could have gotten a child endangerment charge had his 8-year-old son was out of the truck and was part of the physical altercation. There’s also moral issues at play.

        I forgot to mention charges on property damage. There’s damage to the Summers’ parents storm door. The Atascadero PD are not vicariously liable for what their off-duty officer has done. However, Cramer is liable for all damages of personal property pursuant to Cal. Penal Code § 594. My educated guess is that the cost for replacing the storm door will be less than $400. Cramer could face up to a year in prison or a fine up to $1,000.

        If I was the DA, I would pursue this case because there are so many charges you could pursue, and this would be an excellent opportunity to restore public trust by holding the police accountable. If Shea does not take this case, there will be moral ramifications that cut the tiny threads of relevance that are keeping him in power.

        (24) 24 Total Votes - 24 up - 0 down
    • standup says:

      Looks like the cop won’t have any qualified immunity being that he was off duty. But at the same time he may have been acting under the color of law enforcement. Kiss good by to your homeowner’s insurance Cramer and get ready tax payers for the civil suit against the county. Just another recent screwup. This act was about as dumb as the ntf officer pointing a gun at the head of a ten year old girl during the MEDICAL MARIJUANA raids. Go cowboys, go!

      (20) 20 Total Votes - 20 up - 0 down
  8. ApathyWillKillYou says:

    The DA SHEA is the PROBLEM.

    “Who ya gonna call” when you are being beaten by the police on and off duty?

    If we couldn’t RECALL Hedges then good luck with DA SHEA who ran unopposed!

    I honestly feel that if a recall attempt was attempted then those involved would be first dealt with by the SLO Sheriff’s Department and then end up in San Luis Obispo County’s form of GITMO.

    Even if you are in the RIGHT they will drain you of all your resources, financial and emotional, and then force you to plead ‘no contest’ after they have sucked you dry!

    Don’t believe me.. Just check out the NUMBER of attorneys in the SLO phone book. The county is broke yet they have money to pay for expensive repairs to the DARE programs $100,000 VIPER that screams… be a drug dealer and you can drive a car like this! And a new womens jail, costing megabucks because crime is up for the fairer sex. But there might be a decline in female crime on the horizon once the full force of Chuck Lidell’s training of LEO’s is unleashed

    IT’S A MACHINE and it’s UNSTOPPABLE!

    If you are an elected official (or a relative of – ie, FREITAS son), a member of law enforcement or wealthy then you get Shea’s form of diplomatic immunity. For the rest of us… be afraid… very afraid.

    And I was wondering that any possible prosecution of a SLO county employee by the SLO County DA should be considered a CONFLICT of INTEREST! A conviction could ultimately result in a financial loss to the county which is the DA’s employer!

    Don’t mess with SHEA the SLO DA because he is UNTOUCHABLE!

    I’m burning my computer to erase all traces of this post and moving to Egypt before they track me down for speaking out!

    (46) 54 Total Votes - 50 up - 4 down

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