Metro Passenger Settles Suit Alleging She Was Roughed Up by LAPD in 2018

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A woman who was in high school in 2018 and alleged she was wrongfully removed, handcuffed and arrested by a Los Angeles police sergeant for putting her feet on a Metro train seat has tentatively settled her lawsuit with the city.

Plaintiff Bethany Nava had filed her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit in July 2018, alleging unreasonable search and seizure, unlawful detention and arrest, unlawful search and seizure, assault, battery, sexual battery, negligence, civil rights violations and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Her attorneys filed court papers on Wednesday with Judge Yolanda Orozco stating that a "conditional" settlement was reached and that a request for dismissal would be filed by April 24.

No terms were divulged and it was not immediately clear if the accord is subject to approval by the City Council.

Nava, then 18, was pulled off a train Jan. 22, 2018, at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro station by an LAPD member identified in the suit only as Sgt. Hutchings, allegedly because she refused to take her foot off a seat. The screaming young woman was pulled off the train, even as she hooked her arm around a pole and yelled that her belongings were still on the subway car.

In the ensuing chaos, another woman, Selena Lechuga, was arrested for allegedly spitting on the LAPD sergeant involved in the arrest of Nava.

The confrontation was caught on cell phone video that was widely broadcast and viewed millions of times on Facebook. In the video, the sergeant tells Nava to get out of her seat. She asks for an explanation and then calls him an epithet. He then removes her from the train.

The sergeant used "curbside justice" to grab Nava by one arm and wrist, then he took her off the train and slammed her against a wall, her suit alleges.

But according to court papers filed by the City Attorney's Office, the force used against Nava "if any, was caused and necessitated by the actions of plaintiff, and was reasonable and necessary for self-defense."

Any damages Nava suffered were due to her own negligence and any fault a jury may find against the city should be reduced by taking into consideration the plaintiff's own conduct, according to the City Attorney's Office's court papers.

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