A former Livingston police sergeant has been accused of felony assault by a public officer for an incident in 2012, when he allegedly shoved a handcuffed man’s face into the ground, the Merced Sun-Star has learned.
Tyson Perry, 37, who left the Livingston Police Department last year after 11 years, pleaded not guilty to the charge during arraignment April 27 in Merced Superior Court. He is due back in court at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
“The case is filed, it’s pending and we believe we have a good case,” said Rob Carroll, chief deputy district attorney in Merced County.
Perry is charged in Merced Superior Court with assaulting Dwight Larks, a felony, according to a copy of the criminal complaint.
There was no record of Perry being arrested or booked into jail in connection with the allegations.
Larks, a 38-year-old real estate agent, is seeking damages in a civil lawsuit against Perry and the city of Livingston. He is seeking unspecified damages related to his medical care, loss of wages and distress, as well as the “deprivation of civil rights,” according to the civil claim filed in Merced Superior Court.
Larks is the ex-boyfriend of Perry’s wife, the claim states.
Livingston police Chief Ruben Chavez declined to comment on the matter Friday, citing personnel issues.
The civil lawsuit was filed in March 2013, according to court records.
Perry, Larks and attorneys for the city of Livingston could not be reached for comment Friday.
The alleged assault happened May 21, 2012, outside Larks’ home in the 1200 block of C Street in Livingston, when Perry supervised the mother of Larks’ child during a custody exchange, according to the civil claim.
Larks claims there was a disagreement over when and where the parents were to exchange the child, and what was required under the terms of a court order. During the confrontation, according to the civil claim, Perry ordered Larks to turn around several times.
The claim says Perry used his police radio to call for another officer, Michael Baker. At that point, Larks claims, he did not put up a fight when Perry placed him in handcuffs, but said he did not understand why he was being arrested.
According to the civil claim, Larks said he was not resisting arrest but was then thrown down to the ground while handcuffed. His head, shoulder and knee struck the ground on the way down. Perry then used his hand to drive Larks’ face into the ground again, according to the claim.
The officers placed Larks in the back of a police car and took him to the Livingston police station. Larks claims Perry taunted him on several occasions during the ride and while in the police station’s parking lot.
According to the civil lawsuit, Perry was married to Larks’ one-time girlfriend. Larks claims he asked Perry if the arrest had anything to do with his connections to the officer’s wife.
Perry gave an expletive-laced response that included the words “payback” and “karma,” according to the claim.
Larks was cited for resisting arrest and violating a court order, according to Merced County booking records.
Baker, the second officer involved in the incident, is also named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit, according to court documents.
Baker left the Livingston Police Department in 2013 after nine years, according to the Livingston Human Resources Department. It was unclear if his departure was connected to the incident and subsequent lawsuit.
Perry is scheduled to appear again in the civil case Aug. 10.