25-year-old Aloni Bonilla is accusing California Highway Patrol officer Jose A. Ramirez of excessive force and violation of civil rights for a confrontation that stemmed from a Los Angeles DUI arrest of Bonilla.
Bonilla was driving from her home in Baldwin Park to a friend’s home in Alhambra on March 21, 2012, when she was pulled over around 1:30 a.m. Bonilla was driving on a portion of the 10 freeway that had be shut down. However, Bonilla said she never saw any traffic signs warning her of the closure when she took the Francisquito Avenue onramp.
After a breathalyzer detected alcohol in Bonilla’s system, she was transported to Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina for a blood sample.
It was while she was waiting for the blood to be drawn when Bonilla claims Officer Ramirez became confrontational.
Bonilla described the confrontation to reporters outside of the U.S. Courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles.
“He grabbed me by my arm, lifted me out of my chair, turned me around and slammed — drilling it — my head into the wall,” Bonilla said. “On the wall was a mounted object, and the left side of my face immediately started to bleed and swell.”
Bonilla claims that Ramirez then pushed her down on the ground and said over his police radio that Bonilla was resisting arrest. He then put his knee on her back and began handcuffing her. The altercation left Bonilla with a black eye and five slipped discs in her spine and neck.
“I’m 120 pounds, this was a 220-pounds, 6-foot male Latino officer,” she said. “I was never given medical treatment, I never got that blood sample.”
Video of the incident (which can be seen here) was captured by the hospital’s surveillance camera. The judge in Bonilla’s DUI case, however, dismissed the evidence because it was prejudicial against the officer and Bonilla was found guilty of a California DUI, vandalism and resisting arrest.
Bonilla says the lawsuit is part of a wider effort to address “police brutality in low income areas and against women”.
CHP officials declined to comment due to the ongoing litigation in the case.
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