In an effort to show that a police officer deserved to be transferred from the Mission District Police station, another officer testified this week in the discrimination trial in California’s Northern District Court that the defendant manhandled the arrest of a juvenile.
Lori Dutra, 33, alleges she suffered reverse discrimination at the Mission station at the hands of Sergeant Marta McDowell, retired Sergeant Kimberly Reynolds, Sergeant Lynn Reilly, and retired Sergeant Carri Lucas–all but the latter identify as lesbians.
Sergeant Lynn Reilly testified Monday that on March 18, 2008, she responded to a call for back-up at the 16th and Mission streets BART plaza.
Reilly said a fight broke out between three underage boys that ended in their arrests. In her testimony of the incident, Reilly said that Dutra, the plaintiff, escalated the violence at the scene while detaining one of the minors.
Reilly said she saw Dutra walking the “kid” across the station. She testified that Dutra grabbed him by the back of the neck at one point and pushed his face on the side of a glass MUNI bus shelter located at the plaza.
According to Reilly, Dutra “whispered in his ear,” causing the minor to become “extremely agitated,” which she said ultimately escalated the situation.
“[Dutra’s] face was angry,” said Reilly. “She was just out of control.”
“It disgusted me,” added Reilly.
After returning to the station, Reilly said she sought out a supervisor to discuss her concern with Dutra’s alleged actions. She said she sat down with Sgt. Marta McDowell, who was the supervisor on duty.
Reilly, who broke out in tears on the stand, said she told McDowell that she “had seen Lori Dutra escalate a situation at a scene and manhandle a juvenile aggressively.”
“I told her…I didn’t feel safe working with Lori Dutra,” said Reilly. “[She] brings an unpredictable element.”
But the official police report and an officer involved in the incident tell a different story.
The official police report filed that day contradicts Reilly’s alleged observations about the events that took place at the 16th and Mission Bart plaza.
The report written by Officer Nicholas Apodaca states that in an effort to control the violently resisting suspect, he pushed the juvenile against the bus shelter.
During his testimony on April 29, Apodaca recounted the events of the incident, saying that he along with his field-training officer Matt Kenny responded to the scene after receiving a call from Officer Rey Vargas.
“[Vargas] pointed to an individual that he wanted us to detain. We got out of the patrol vehicle, walked over there and made sure we had the right individual,” testified Apodaca. “[The suspect] was violently resisting, flailing back and forth. We each grabbed a hand of his.”
“We placed him against the Muni bus shelter to get a better grip,” said Apodaca. “From there he became more resistant–other officers came and we were able to arrest him.”
Within two days of Reilly’s alleged observations about Dutra escalating the violence at the scene, the other defendants in the case, Sgt.Marta McDowell, Sgt. Kimberly Reynolds and Sgt. Carrie Lucas, drafted three memos that were sent up the chain of command, resulting in Dutra’s transfer out of Mission Station.
The trail is expected to continue for another week.