Crime - Sacto 911

Jury says Sacramento deputy didn’t use excessive force vs. woman

A federal court jury on Wednesday rejected an excessive-force accusation against a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy by a woman arrested more than three years ago at a party in Wilton.

Marta Angelica Hurtado was at an uncle’s 80th birthday celebration when sheriff’s deputies responded after 10 p..m. to a neighbor’s complaint about loud noise at the party.

Hurtado’s husband, Octavio Palmas, was the affair’s disc jockey, and he promised the deputies the music would be turned down. Later, however, there was another complaint and, when the deputies returned to the address, the music had not been turned down.

A confrontation between the deputies and Palmas ended in his arrest. While that scene played out, the crowd of partygoers “started to voice their distress, with members asking the deputies what was going on and why, telling deputies they were trespassing, and demanding the deputies leave,” according to an order issued earlier this year by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller.

Deputy David Cuneo testified that Hurtado was less than an arm’s length from him and refused his order to step back, so he shoved her and she fell backward onto the ground.

He tried to talk to her for his use-of-force report, but Hurtado walked away and into the house. Cuneo followed her and, when she tried to avoid him, he shoved a couch to block her path, according to the deputy. Cuneo said he pushed the couch against a wall, while Hurtado claimed he shoved it against her.

Hurtado sued, seeking monetary damages as compensation for various physical injuries she claimed resulted from the deputy’s actions.

After three hours of deliberation, the jury determined that Cuneo did not use excessive force to corner Hurtado in the house.

Mueller in April threw out the excessive-force claim regarding the deputy’s shove of Hurtado in the yard.

Cuneo cited Hurtado that night for misdemeanor resisting arrest, to which she pleaded no contest. It was unclear Thursday what sentence Hurtado received.

Denny Walsh: 916-321-1189