Civil Rights Attorneys from the Piccuta Law Group Settle Lawsuit for $650,000 for Man Alleging Police Brutality and That He Was Beaten and Tasered While Handcuffed

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Civil Rights Attorney Charles Tony Piccuta of the Piccuta Law Group finalizes $650,000 settlement of a lawsuit that alleged his client was the victim of police excessive force and that he was beaten unconscious and tasered by police after a routine traffic stop in Fresno County, California.

If someone is hurt or taken advantage of, someone needs to be held accountable.

This month, civil rights attorneys from the Piccuta Law Group settled a lawsuit alleging police brutality and excessive force for $650,000 for a man who alleged he was beaten unconscious and tasered by police while handcuffed. The lawsuit was pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California and entitled George Macias v. Steve Cleaver, Et Al. (Case #:1-13-CV-001819). Charles Tony Piccuta was the lead attorney for Macias and alleged in the federal court Complaint that in September of 2012, his client George Macias, who was then 20 years old, was savagely beaten by four City of Clovis police officers for no reason. Piccuta also alleged in the Complaint that his client was tasered while handcuffed and even threatened by the arresting officer as he was laying on a gurney being attended to by emergency medical personnel.

The Complaint alleged the following: Macias was pulled over on his motorcycle for his license plate light supposedly not being bright enough and then cited for not having a proper motorcycle license. After Macias received his citation, he was allowed to leave the scene on foot with his helmet and keys as the officers impounded the motorcycle. The officers later decided they wanted the keys to make towing the motorcycle easier. The officers then made contact with Macias about a ½ mile from the stop and requested the keys. Macias refused to give the keys to them and was arrested.

In transport to the police station, Macias moved his handcuffs from the back of his body to the front. The Complaint alleged that Macias did this because he wasn’t properly placed in the back of the patrol unit and was uncomfortable. The Complaint also alleged that in response to this, the arresting officer pulled over on the side of the road and called for additional officers and that three other officers arrived and formed a semi-circle around the back door of the patrol unit. The Complaint further alleged that Macias was then ordered out of the unit and as he stepped out, he was immediately beaten by the officers and tasered. The Complaint finally alleged that Macias posed no threat, did not fight back and was struck multiple times in the back of the head while on the ground until he was unconscious.

Macias was later charged with resisting arrest—a misdemeanor punishable of up to one year in jail. The criminal charge was prosecuted in Fresno County Superior Court as The People v. George Michael Macias, Jr. (Case #: M12923776). Macias fought the charge and was found not-guilty by a jury on March 10, 2014 after Judge Gary D. Hoff ruled that Macias had no duty to give the officers the keys. Piccuta alleged in the civil rights Complaint that the officers knowingly tried to convict his client of a crime he did not commit to justify their excessive use of force.

During the civil rights lawsuit that Piccuta handled, he fought to have personnel files and any internal affairs investigations of the officers disclosed by the defense. On November 18, 2015, the court ordered that the personnel files and any internal affairs investigations of the officers be disclosed pursuant to a protective order. The documents provided by the defense revealed two Internal Affairs investigations of the arresting officer Steve Cleaver (I.A. Investigations ##13-06 and 14-02). The second Internal Affairs Investigation revealed that the arresting officer was recommended for termination from the police department for lying repeatedly, falsifying reports and making material misstatements to the investigating officers with respect to other matters. On February 5, 2016, Piccuta filed a Motion to Amend the Complaint Based Upon Newly Discovered Evidence and included the Internal Affairs Investigations in support of that request. On March 24, 2016, the Court issued an Order granting the Motion and finding that the Internal Affairs Investigations supported a claim for malicious prosecution.

Piccuta then moved the Court to have the Internal Affairs Investigations removed from the protective order and made part of the Court's public record. On June 30, 2016, the Court granted the request and found that compelling reasons did not exist to keep the Internal Affairs Investigations concealed from the public. The Court's Order stated "In this instance, the Court has found that the Internal Affairs Documents and the related motions should be unsealed. Therefore, pursuant to the terms of the protective order, these documents no longer fall within the scope of the protective order as the documents are now available as part of the public domain."

When asked about Macias, Piccuta said “My client was a good kid who never drank, did drugs or ever had any problems with law enforcement before that night. He was the captain of his high school football team and had aspirations to be in law enforcement himself.” Macias has since moved to Texas where he is now a correctional officer in the state prison system and enrolled in the Army Reserves.

When asked about the result, Piccuta stated “This was a tremendous result for our client. He did not have extensive physical injuries and only went to see his doctor once for x-rays to make sure nothing was broken. His medical expenses were less than $3,000.00. The amount we were able to obtain for him will change his life forever.” When asked about the case, Piccuta offered “This was a complex and hard case that took almost four years to resolve. As proven by the Court records, the defense fought us every step of the way—especially when it came to getting the Internal Affairs records."

Piccuta Law Group represents individuals and small business owners who have legal issues caused by the misconduct of others. Our practice areas range from complex commercial matters, personal injury, consumer lawsuits and civil rights violations. The attorneys at the Piccuta Law Group believe that If someone is hurt or taken advantage of, someone needs to be held accountable and that if someone is personally injured, either physically or emotionally, they deserve to be made whole. Piccuta Law Group has offices in Monterey, CA, San Jose, CA and Scottsdale, AZ.

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