San Manuel tribal member files lawsuit against former San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy

A lawyer for a San Manuel tribal member has filed a civil lawsuit in federal court against a former San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputy who allegedly tried to extort him two years ago for cash and vehicles.The lawsuit for Ray Carr Green III, which was filed Feb. 19 in U.S. District Court, in Riverside, alleges that former deputy John Thomas Laurent knew that the plaintiff received a substantial income from tribal casino operations in San Bernardino and had a history of drug use.

Laurent reportedly violated Green’s civil rights on two occasions in January 2008 when he sought $80,000 and a Ford F-250 pickup from Green using threats of arrest and incarceration, according to the complaint for damages.

San Bernardino-based lawyer Emile Mark Mullick said Monday that prosecutors had already tried to pursue criminal charges against Laurent. Mullick was concerned about Laurent using his authority as a deputy to extort Green, he said.

“It was done under the color of law,” Mullick said. “He was using that authority in violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

Criminal charges against Laurent, 31, were dismissed in October by prosecutors after juries deadlocked and mistrials were declared in two separate trials. Attempts to locate Laurent were unsuccessful.

In addition to Laurent, Mullick has also named San Bernardino County, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Rod Hoops and former Sheriff Gary Penrod in the lawsuit.

The Sheriff’s Civil Liabilities Division reported that the agency had not yet been served with the lawsuit as of Monday, spokeswoman Jodi Miller said. The department also does not comment about lawsuits.

Green, 47, is seeking $100,000 in general damages; medical, psychiatric and psychological expenses; $50,000 in punitive damages from each defendant, the lawsuit states.

The deputy reportedly visited Green at his Lake Arrowhead home in mid 2007. During the visit, Laurent offered Green favorable treatment in exchange for a Harley Davidson motorcycle, Mullick wrote in the complaint. But Green refused.

On Jan. 10, 2008, Laurent ordered Green to the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station to meet his new parole officer. Laurent searched Green’s car without consent and reported finding methamphetamine.

While wearing handcuffs, Green was asked what his freedom was worth. Laurent allegedly asked for the cash and truck.

Two days later, Laurent told Green to meet him in a Costco parking lot in Rancho Cucamonga. Laurent presented his demands on threat of arrest and incarceration, say the plaintiffs.

At the criminal trials in San Bernardino Superior Court, lawyer Michael Schwartz said Laurent had been putting together a narcotics case against Green and had wanted to earn a spot on the Sheriff’s narcotics unit.

The Sheriff’s Department discharged Laurent, a former U.S. Marine who had served in Iraq, after its own investigation into the allegations.

Green is in custody at Adelanto Detention Center, in Adelanto, on drug and domestic violence charges in four other cases filed by prosecutors in 2008 and 2009, according to the Sheriff’s Department. He also has a prior conviction of possession of a controlled substance from March 2004.

Green’s civil lawsuit cites federal violations of his rights against unreasonable search and seizure and equal protection under the law. Mullick also makes supplemental state claims of battery, false arrest, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

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  1. [...] San Manuel tribal member files lawsuit against former San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy [...]

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