State

Claims laid on sheriff's department

The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department faces three recent claims stemming from August incidents, one filed by a former deputy and two alleging rough treatment of handcuffed suspects.

Robert Rowe said in his claim that he was questioned during "early morning hours" by Sgts. Robert Hunt and Tom Lawrence "on orders from Lt. Mike Parker," without a labor advocate. Rowe previously was assigned to police services in Riverbank, a city that contracts with the county for law enforcement.

"Employees subject to a disciplinary interview have a clear and unmistakable right to representation at said interview," the claim reads. The questions violated the law and department and county policy and constitute an unfair labor practice, according to the claim, which can lead to a lawsuit.

Sheriff Adam Christianson said he is prevented from commenting at length because it is a personnel matter and Rowe's separation from the department is heading to arbitration.

A second claim was filed by Julian Lopez of Modesto, who broke two teeth when downtown jail guards dropped him on his face while he was bound by handcuffs and ankle chains, his claim says. The day before, deputies shot him with Tasers multiple times in a jail elevator, the claim reads.

A third claim says a deputy stood by as a Ceres police officer "hurled" Eladio Rami-rez, stopped for drunken driving, face first onto pavement after his hands were cuffed behind his back. Ramirez, of Empire, sustained severe burns "as a result of being pressed against the hot asphalt," the claim reads.

County Counsel John Doering said officials continue to look into the claims.

Attorneys for Rowe and Ramirez did not return calls seeking comment. They seek more than $10,000 each. Lopez represents himself, his document says.

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at gstapley@modbee.com or 578-2390.

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