A 75-year-old former E&J Gallo Winery vice president is suing several Stanislaus County law enforcement agencies alleging that drug enforcement officers used excessive force to apprehend her when they scoured her home in a late-night search a year ago.
Sue McClelland suffered bruises to her arms and neck in the search when she tripped as officers led her out of her home in the dark.
She is seeking unspecified damages from the agencies, charging that officers violated her rights without the due process of law, detained her illegally and were negligent in performing their jobs.
"We want to hold them accountable to their own standards," McClelland said Wednesday.
She declined to comment further and steered other questions to her attorney, Robert Fores of Modesto.
She is suing the city of Modesto, Stanislaus County, the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency and several officers who allegedly were at her home when the search took place on April 29, 2008. She filed her case in the U.S. District Court in Fresno this week.
Officials from the agencies she’s suing have declined to say much about the case because it’s the subject of a lawsuit.
Modesto Senior Deputy City Attorney Jim Wilson said McClelland's property was one of several that were searched that night on a warrant. He declined to comment further.
McClelland was the first woman to become a vice president at E&J Gallo Winery. She led some of the company’s marquee advertising campaigns, including one for Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers.
Bee staff writer Adam Ashton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2366.