A medical supplies courier filed a federal lawsuit against the city last week alleging that a Monrovia Police officer assaulted her during a traffic stop and arrested her without cause, documents show.
Hsinlei Shao said in the lawsuit that she was pulled over on August 29, 2009 while attempting to make a time-sensitive delivery of a "blood product," according to the federal complaint.
After asking the officer to let her deliver the supplies to her destination across the street, an unknown officer "savagely grabbed (her) from behind, smashing her face-first onto the pavement."
"(Shao), who was wearing glasses at the time, was injured," the civil complaint reads.
Monrovia Police Chief Jim Hunt did not immediately return a call requesting comment on this story.
City Manager Scott Ochoa declined to comment on the allegations but said the city could find no record of Shao ever filing a complaint with the city before pursuing legal action, which he said was unusual.
"Generally speaking, the way it works is you file a claim and it's either accepted or rejected and if it's rejected then you can file a lawsuit," Ochoa.
Ochoa said the city has not yet been formally served with the lawsuit.
"We will look into it once we get the lawsuit and investigate it accordingly," he said.
After the alleged assault, Shao claims she was then "shoved into the back of a police car" and taken to the police station, where a female officer prepared a report noting that she was bleeding from the face. Shao alleges that another unknown officer saw the report and ordered that it be destroyed.
"That unknown officer looked at the report the female officer prepared and ordered her to destroy it and write another," the complaint reads.
At that point, Shao was told that she was being arrested for attacking a peace officer, according to her lawsuit.
"The unknown officers claimed that (her) alleged attack caused an unknown officer to have to be in the hospital for several days," the lawsuit states.
Shao claims she was held for "approximately two days" in jail during the incident and that she was fired from her job when she was finally released. She was later informed that no charges were being filed against her, according to the lawsuit.
After losing her job, Shao's home was foreclosed upon, the complaint says.
"As of this date, (she) is homeless and lives in her car."
The lawsuit names the city and unknown police officers as defendants and asserts that the city had knowledge of "repeated allegations of abuse and assaultive misconduct toward citizens." Shao also alleges that the city failed to properly investigate her allegations, destroyed evidence and covered up the incident.
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