Man sues city of Santa Maria over violent 2018 arrest

November 30, 2022


A Santa Maria man sued his city’s police department in federal court earlier this month over alleged civil rights violations during a 2018 standoff and arrest. [KSBY]

In March 2018, neighbors called 911, saying they heard shots fired and an argument between John Bright and his wife. A standoff ensued, during which police fired a less-than-lethal round that struck Bright.

Officers arrested both Bright and his wife. Bright was booked in the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of resisting executive officers, possession of an assault weapon and possession of a silencer.

Police later searched their home and seized Bright’s firearms. Santa Barbara County prosecutors filed charges against Bright, but a judge ultimately dismissed the case. Bright denies ever firing shots during the incident.

Bright’s lawsuit names the city of Santa Maria, the Santa Maria Police Department, former Police Chief Phil Hansen and several officers. Bright alleges police shot him with a projectile from less than 10 yards away, causing him to suffer permanent injuries.

The Santa Maria man also argues police lied to the media, claiming the standoff lasted for hours when it did not, and that the criminal case resulted in his business failing and him needing to move out of state. Additionally, Bright’s suit alleges malicious prosecution.

Bright is seeking unspecified damages.

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I’d like to know why the charges were dismissed and who was the judge that dismissed them.

Please, some dude assaults the police, brakes several laws and he thinks he is the victim. I believe he is lucky he is not spending a lot of time incarcerated. He should be thankful for his good luck; I.e. he is alive, the courts found some of his misdeeds not chargeable, and the standoff, regardless of how long it went on, did not cause anyone’s death. He should just be great full and go on with his life with the attitude to act more responsible in the future.

Probably dismissed due to the multiple violations of civil rights. The most the police can do, based upon the word of a neighbor and absent a search or arrest warrant, is to knock on Mr. Bright’s front door, and talk to him should he decide to even answer the door. If he tells them to leave his property, they must do so. Then they can get a search warrant, return, and do some of the things described in the article like search his house. I doubt there was any justification for shooting him because I suspect he was just failing to obey their orders (come outside, sit on the curb, keep your hands out of your pockets, etc.) none of which he had to obey in his own house or curtilage. It would have been different if they had the proper warrants. The police don’t care about this suit. They are in no trouble. They are protected by “qualified immunity” which protects them from just about any stupid thing they do. Qualified immunity is a thing created by courts to protect their own. It was never enacted. It was recently eliminated in Colorado, and should be eliminated everywhere. Then you would not see so much stupidity from police. We, the taxpayers will pay for defense, any settlement or award, possibly Mr. Bright’s attorney’s fees, and any resulting increase in the City’s insurance premium (provided their insurance is not cancelled). I think insurance companies are going to come to our rescue from our current police state by reigning in police stupidity (and/or corruption) with insurance cancellations and much higher premiums. It’s already happening some places.

BTW. I assume you meant that “some dude… breaks several laws”, and I assume you meant “He should just be grateful…” Do you by any chance have a spell and grammar checker?


More facts, lest conjecture

UPDATE: Three days after I wrote my previous comment, I encountered this article from June of 2022. The city of Louisville lost its insurance coverage in 2021 due to excessive police “misconduct”. The moderator doesn’t like links, but I see no way for anyone to find this without a link.

You didn’t read the email I sent. Links are fine (if related and not bs).