SAN DIEGO (CN) - San Diego Sheriff's deputies shot two men in a car merely because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, the injured men claim in Federal Court. They say the deputies then lied to try to justify the shootings and protect themselves from lawsuits.
Plaintiff Donald Rico says the deputies were searching for his brother, Ryan Rico, at about 3 a.m. on Dec. 5, 2008. The deputies began the search at the Pauma Indian Reservation casino, Rico says.
The search led to a car chase, and Ryan Rico fled on foot after hitting a dead end. Donald Rico says that he and his friend Anthony Bojorquez went to the scene after seeing the chase because they "feared for Ryan Rico's life."
But the plaintiffs say they became afraid when they realized the seriousness of the situation - and when they saw that "Deputy Tripoli" and "Deputy Power" had their guns drawn. The men say they turned their car around and tried to leave but the two deputies open fire on them. Both men say they suffered "catastrophic and permanent injuries to their bodies and psyches."
The three defendant deputies - Tripoli, Power and Wisniewski - then gave false testimonies to "justify the use of deadly force" though they knew that the men they had shot had done nothing to provoke such a reaction, the complaint states.
Donald Rico and Bojorquez say they were arrested and prosecuted for crimes they did not commit. The complaint does not state the charges for which they were prosecuted.
They seeks costs and damages for constitutional violations, malicious prosecution, false arrest, negligence, and assault and battery.
They are represented by Frank Perez of Moreno & Perez in Los Angeles.