Former Charger sues San Diego police for unlawful arrest, breaking arm

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A former Chargers defensive back has filed a lawsuit, saying two San Diego cops violated his civil rights, broke his arm, and led to the end of his football career.

According to Lyndsay Winkley of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Michael Lee accused officers of arresting him without probable cause on May 28, as he was waiting for a ride outside a bar in the Gaslamp District. He claims two officers told him to leave the area, he walked away, and they approached him again. He said the officers told him they were going to “take him in,” and then forced him to the ground and handcuffed him. During the incident, he suffered cuts, bruises, an eye injury and a broken arm.

Lee, a cornerback from Fort Valley State, had been on the Chargers practice squad in 2016, and signed a future contract last January. But five days after the incident and the injury, the Chargers waived him with a non-football injury designation. He has spent time in Falcons camp in 2015 and on the Eagles practice squad. He’s not currently on a roster.

The San Diego police didn’t comment, but the city attorney’s office declined to press charges.

Lee’s lawyer called the broken arm “a devastating injury,” which required 16 screws to repair.

“[Lee] incurred substantial medical bills, lost earnings, lost earning capacity and severe emotional distress,” the lawsuit states. “In addition, (Lee) was disabled from playing professional football, and was deprived of the opportunity to pursue his life-long dream of playing in the NFL.”

He is seeking unspecified damages.

18 responses to “Former Charger sues San Diego police for unlawful arrest, breaking arm

  1. There is always more to the story. Always. One axiom holds true though. When one fights with the police, injuries to any involved are a real possibility. It does not mean that the police did anything wrong.

  2. Protecting and Serving. I feel so much safer as a citizen knowing that guy isn’t waiting for his ride outside a bar anymore. I mean, what if he had gotten into the wrong Uber like the guy in the Southwest Airlines commercial? He may have taken up with bank robbers!

  3. I always find it interesting how pretty much all law-abiding citizens never have to complain about police brutality. If you don’t want to get bitten by a shark, don’t jump into the water in the first place.

  4. Probably another Michael Bennett like story. I’m sure Lee was doing something that made the police question him to look suspicious. As well as resisting arrest. Cops hate that.

  5. baldbuc says:
    January 26, 2018 at 8:14 am
    I always find it interesting how pretty much all law-abiding citizens never have to complain about police brutality.
    ——–
    uhhhh what? Yo must never read or watch the news. Local or national. There have been some really really bad ones that have , if not ruined, at least tarnished the reputation of the entire profession. There have been various protests around the country since the late 1990’s. California seems to have more than their fair share of police brutality issues.

  6. baldbuc says:
    January 26, 2018 at 8:14 am
    I always find it interesting how pretty much all law-abiding citizens never have to complain about police brutality. If you don’t want to get bitten by a shark, don’t jump into the water in the first place.
    —–

    I always find it interesting that people you assume anyone stopped by the police and hassled is a “law abiding citizen”. Do you have any evidence whatsoever, other than your belief that cops are never wrong, that Lee was not being a “law abiding citizen” when he was stopped?

  7. factschecker says:
    January 26, 2018 at 8:50 am
    baldbuc says:
    January 26, 2018 at 8:14 am
    I always find it interesting how pretty much all law-abiding citizens never have to complain about police brutality.
    ——–
    uhhhh what? Yo must never read or watch the news. Local or national. There have been some really really bad ones that have , if not ruined, at least tarnished the reputation of the entire profession. There have been various protests around the country since the late 1990’s. California seems to have more than their fair share of police brutality issues.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You would be hard-pressed to find police brutality against innocent bystanders. In all the cases I have seen in the news, there has always been some form of illegal activity, non-compliance or outright assault on the police officers. One possible exception would be the boy in the park…but that one had several people calling in that he had a gun so that was in the mindset of the responding officers.

  8. lukedunphysscienceproject says:
    January 26, 2018 at 9:14 am
    baldbuc says:
    January 26, 2018 at 8:14 am
    I always find it interesting how pretty much all law-abiding citizens never have to complain about police brutality. If you don’t want to get bitten by a shark, don’t jump into the water in the first place.
    —–

    I always find it interesting that people you assume anyone stopped by the police and hassled is a “law abiding citizen”. Do you have any evidence whatsoever, other than your belief that cops are never wrong, that Lee was not being a “law abiding citizen” when he was stopped?
    ___________
    The Evidence that he was not a Law Abiding Citizen is the fact that he had a second interaction with the Police. The Cops gave him a lawful order to leave and he didn’t. Had he left like he was ordered too none of this could have happened.

    I’m not saying the Cops handled this correctly, but when you’re given a lawful order you are Legally required to follow it. Failure to follow the order means you are no longer law abiding.

  9. I guarantee there is more to the story. The police probably told him to leave the area, like they do for thousands of bars across the country every night. Here is probably how it went : The police told him to vacate the area, he said he was waiting for a ride, they told him to wait somewhere else, he started cussing out the cops, they told him to leave or else he was getting arrested, he refused, police told him to put his hands behind his back, he started walking away, police pursued him, he resisted arrest.

    Here is the thing, very rarely (if ever) does a police officer wake up in the morning and say, “I’m going to go and beat up and arrest someone for no reason whatsoever”. If you obey the law, your odds are really good you won’t get arrested or have your arm broken by the police.

  10. Didn’t have any charges to file but broke his arm? He wasn’t even resisting arrest, cause that’s a charge that could be filed. Sounds like he might have a pretty good case.

  11. Read the background story. Mr. Lee called his friend to verify the ride and the friend was right around the corner. Then the overzealous ‘officers’ strongarmed him when they illegally told him to leave? Where the heck was he supposed to go? He has every legal right to wait for a ride. What was his crime? Waiting while black. I’m white and usually think these things are a money grab, but this is horrible. I hope he gets a billion and bankrupts the whole precinct.

  12. This makes me think of tennis player James Blake who was simply standing in front of his hotel doing absolutely nothing, and was charged by police, tackled to the ground and handcuffed. Of course the excuse was he “looked like” some suspected drug dealer. There is a video of this that’s available. This proves that innocent bystanders absolutely can be subject to police brutality.

  13. I guess they would have preferred for him to drive drunk. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

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