Bal Theatre owner Dan Dillman has filed a federal lawsuit against Alameda County seeking more than $15 million in damages, alleging that he was falsely arrested and beaten last October by two, out-of-uniform Sheriff’s Department officers.
Dillman faces criminal charges for battery upon a peace officer in connection with the same October 12 incident that is the subject of his civil suit. His criminal case could go to trial as soon as February 14.
In his civil suit filed January 20 in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, Dillman names Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Michael D. Carroll and Detective Terrence H. Montigue as the officers who “severely and mercilessly beat, punched and kicked (him) while he was on the ground in handcuffs.”
The suit cites the two officers and Alameda County of more than 15 alleged wrongdoings including assault, false arrest and violation of his civil rights, and seeks a million dollars in damages for each allegation.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson suggested that Dillman’s suit was meritless.
“Anybody can sue anybody for anything,” Nelson said, adding that the Department stood behind the two officcers who arrested Dillman.
The 32-page civil complaint details Dillman’s account of what occurred starting at about 2:30 pm on October 12, when Carroll and Montigue, said not to be in uniform and driving an unmarked car, came to the Bal and began questioning a workman who was repairing the theater’s neon sign.
The lawsuit says the two defendants took the workman inside the darkened theatre. Dillman told them to leave and demanded to know what was going on. According to the suit one of the defendants said he was a police officer, but when Dillman asked for identification, none was produced.
Instead, the suit says the two men in plain clothes put the workman into an unmarked car as Dillman came out to take pictures.
At this point, the lawsuit alleges, Carroll and Montigue, already in the car, “jumped out of the vehicle and, without provocation, attacked Dillman, telling (him) they were going to show (him) ‘the full extent of the law’.”
All of this occurred in front of Dillman’s wife, Gina, and their two children, Joshua, 15, and Tianna, 14.
“As a result of the brutal attack, Gina, Tianna and Joshua feared for Dillman’s life and suffered severe emotional and mental distress,” the suit says in naming them as co-plaintiffs.
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