Hidalgo County Sheriff’s deputies Patrick Green and David Arredondo are named, along with deputy Javier Peru, as defendants in the complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque by the Kennedy Law Firm.
The plaintiff, Timothy Young, 31, of Deming, maintains that an Oct. 13, 2012, traffic stop led to him being strip-searched in the parking lot of a Lordsburg gas station and subsequently taken to Gila Regional Medical Center and forced to undergo an X-ray and digital rectal exam. Young was detained for nearly seven hours, no drugs were found in his vehicle or in his body, and the hospital billed him $600, according to the complaint.
The incident began about 9:45 p.m. after Young exited his car at a gas station filling pump. Peru and Arredondo pulled up behind him in separate vehicles, maintaining that Young did not use his turn signal, according to the suit. Young disputes that.
The deputies’ report of the incident, according to the lawsuit, says that Young appeared “nervous,” that his “hands and feet were shaking” and that they believed he was under the influence of narcotics because he appeared “jittery,” licked his lips, and repeatedly put his hat on and took it off. In addition, a passenger in Young’s car had an open container of alcohol.
Based on those circumstances, the officers “coerced” Young into allowing a search of his vehicle. Green arrived with his K-9 partner, “Leo,” the same dog named in the previous lawsuit filing. The deputies say the dog alerted on the driver’s seat, the center console and the left open door of the vehicle. However, the lawsuit maintains neither Green nor the dog were qualified to conduct K-9 searches for narcotics, that “Leo” was not certified on the day of the traffic stop and the dog was “unreliable” due to a previous false alert history.
Young was then strip-searched in the parking lot of the gas station. No drugs were found in the vehicle or in his clothing. Nevertheless, deputies impounded his car, obtained a search warrant and transferred Young to Gila Regional Medical Center, the same hospital named in the previous filing, where the procedures were done.