Disabled man files lawsuit against San Luis Obispo police officer
March 14, 2011
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.”