A woman arrested for domestic assault claims in a federal lawsuit a Sacramento County deputy sheriff smashed her head in the wall during the booking process, breaking a tooth and splitting her lip.
The civil rights lawsuit, filed Dec. 20 by Davisha Mitchell, 27, is seeking damages and medical expenses for injuries Mitchell said she received in Sheriff’s Department custody more than a year ago. Court documents say Mitchell suffered a concussion, chipped tooth, bloody lip and mouth, and abrasions and contusions to her body.
Sacramento County counsel and the Sheriff’s Department declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.
Mitchell was arrested May 21, 2017, on suspicion of felony domestic violence after fighting with her boyfriend in which she scratched him on the shoulder, according to police and court documents.
The police report said Mitchell’s boyfriend suffered “minor injuries,” said Officer Marcus Basquez, spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department. Mitchell’s boyfriend did not allow crime scene investigators to take photos of his injuries, Basquez added.
The police report made no mention of Mitchell’s demeanor, Basquez said.
Mitchell was taken to the Sacramento County Main Jail, and while she was being booked she called the arresting officer an “a------.”
A sheriff’s deputy – identified as Kimberly Hutchinson in the suit – “came toward Ms. Mitchell from behind and smashed her face into the wall,” court documents say. A second deputy, Allison Daniele, grabbed Mitchell’s right arm and “contorted it so as to cause pain,” the lawsuit says.
The two deputies led Mitchell to a cell where they pushed her face down to the floor and put a spit-hood over her “battered, bruised and bloodied face,” according to court documents.
“She makes a remark ... and then that results in her getting bloody and bludgeoned, where’s the justice there?” said Adante Pointer, Mitchell’s attorney. “Just because you’re brought into jail doesn’t mean you’ve committed a crime.”
Mitchell was released from custody the next day, and no charges were filed, Pointer said. A review of Sacramento County Superior Court filings show Mitchell has no criminal history or past convictions.
She received medical treatment for her injuries and was diagnosed with a concussion and sprained wrist and finger in addition to her other injuries, Pointer said. Mitchell has provided photos and medical documentation of her treatment.
Mitchell’s attorneys requested video of the incident inside the jail, but those requests were denied, Pointer said. He said he did not know if video existed.
The two deputies are still employed by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, said spokesman Sgt. Shaun Hampton. Pointer said the attorneys have “no reason to believe” the employees were disciplined or transferred, and Hampton could not comment on the matter.
The lawsuit alleges the Sacramento County “breached their duty of care to the public in that they have failed to discipline” the deputies involved.
Mitchell is represented by the law office of John Burris, an Oakland-based firm that has filed several civil rights lawsuits on behalf of victims and families who have been injured or killed by law enforcement officers in Sacramento.
The firm represented Nandi Cain, who was beaten by a city police officer after jaywalking and in April received $550,000 in settlement. Burris also represents the family of Mikel McIntyre, a black man who was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies last year, and the family of Darell Richards, a 19-year-old man fatally shot by Sacramento police officers in September.
Mitchell’s suit will come before Judge William Shubb in United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento in May 2019.