|Police raided the home of Nancy Crambert-Lopes on a false suicide alert|
Photo by Aurelia Ventura - Copyright La Opinion
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Be Afraid of the Police, Not the Criminals
Family claims they were the victims of police violence and fled permanently from them.
By: Isaias Alvarado
Even though all eight corners of their home were guarded by eight security cameras, and they filed a complaint with the FBI, one Latino family that alleges police brutality, fled as far away as they could from the police because of fear of retaliation.
"We're not afraid of the robbers, but the police," said Nancy Carmbert-Lopez, who moved 2,100 miles away, a few days ago.
"I feel safer here," she said.
The Baldwin Park Police Department defended the accused police officers in this controversial case.
Crambert-Lopes recalls her version of the facts: She said that everyone was sleeping in the house, when the police raided her home on a false suicide alert. They reached the master bedroom on the second floor, where the alleged altercation occurred.
While she was trying to clear the misunderstanding with the police, she explained, her husband Delfim Lopes, had taken sleeping pills after work, but when he tried to go to the restroom, the officers grabbed him and the fight blew up.
Argentina Crambert, Nancy's mother, described the incident as an attack by five police officers against her son. "They were kicking him." She remembers saying, "They're going to kill you!" His whole body was covered with fists. "He vomited. He urinated on himself," the 71 year old immigrant said.
Nancy ran to help her husband and for it, both were tackled and arrested.
Paul Cook, attorney at law, said that he believes that to cover up the brutality, the city declared the two mentally unstable (under 5150 of the Welfare and Institution Code) and locked them up in a psychiatric institute.
Nancy was discharged the next day, but her husband was kept under observation for two days.
The alleged beating damaged Delfim's spine, which now requires surgery, said the plaintiff.
The family states that they now owe $40,000 in medical bills and that because of the injury, Del cannot return to work as a driver.
"One day my husband was sleeping, the next day he needs surgery," said Nancy, who alleges that she was bruised because the "boys in blue" assaulted her too.
In late 2014, the FBI stated that it received the complaint but declined to investigate. Lourdes Arocho, FBI spokesperson, told the La Opinion, "We did not open an investigation in this case."
The City stated that they were not contacted by the FBI or other federal agencies and ensures that the police officers acted according to the law.
"The City maintains its support for the officers involved and denies any allegations of misconduct," said the police agent.
According to the police report, Lopes invited the five officers to his home, who happened to also be enraged, and was to be released only after a medical examination.
"Delfim swallowed five to ten sleeping pills because he was depressed because of financial problems," the police report stated.
According to the City, the altercation ensued because of Delfim and his wife's attitude, whom showed signs of anxiety and high blood pressure. That's why she had to be sent to the hospital too.
According to the police report, Delfim "did not complain of any pain," in a physical examination.
The Lopez family filed a complaint against the City of Baldwin Park in federal court, but the judge dismissed it on Dec. 11, 2014.
Later, the couple changed the jurisdiction of the case, so that they wouldn't have to pay for the legal defense fees.
Nancy said that moving to the State of Georgia has brought the family peace.
Delfim was living in fear residing in Baldwin Park because another emergency could occur and the policemen who assaulted him would return to his home.
"Although I never seen these people," Hiedi Rummel, professor of law at the University of Southern California (USC) and former prosecutor, this family's case is unusual.
"I have never heard of the police trying to hide misconduct this way [which is by diagnosing the detainees to be in need of psychiatric care,]" she said.