Owner file

Family of teenage girl violently arrested by Rialto police plan to press charges

RIALTO, Calif. (KABC) — A family has taken the first step toward filing a lawsuit after video showed a 16-year-old girl being thrown to the ground by a Rialto police officer during a violent arrest early of the month.

The family’s attorney has filed the necessary documents to begin the lawsuit process.

The arrest took place on February 11 at around 4:08 p.m. after the teenager was pulled over for speeding on an unlicensed mini-bike, according to Rialto police.

An investigation has been launched after footage of the arrest showed one of the two officers at the scene throwing the girl to the ground and then appearing to grab her neck.

“I was in tears. She was crying and I wasn’t there to help her,” the teenager’s father Demetrio Jennings said at a press conference outside Rialto police on Monday afternoon.

RELATED: Rialto Police Investigate Forced Arrest of 16-Year-Old Caught on Video

“I didn’t go fast enough…Try to teach my kids to do the right thing, you know, but she was raped,” Jennings added.

Last Tuesday, Rialto Police Chief Mark Kling issued an apology to the girl’s family after saying he had reviewed body camera video of the incident.

“I have personally viewed footage from cameras carried by an officer and although the video shows the young officer resisting, we are investigating the officer’s decision to trip the minor to the ground and later place his hand on the minor’s throat during the arrest,” Kling said in a statement.

“We apologize to the minor’s family regarding these unfortunate circumstances,” Kling’s statement also said. “At a time when our police department is striving to build relationships with the community, we certainly did not have this encounter. We look forward to building relationships with this family now and in the future.”

Kling said he requested an independent investigation by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office of Investigations and ordered an Internal Affairs investigation into the officer’s actions.

Police said the teenager was uncooperative and refused to provide her last name or address, so they were unable to give her a citation after her arrest.

During his arrest, the video captures the officer saying to the girl, “Are you coming and trying to bite me?”

She was charged with resisting arrest by threat of violence and was released days later from a detention center and reunited with her family.

The family’s attorney, Caree Harper, did not address the bite allegations at a news conference last week, but called for the officer to be relieved of his duties.

The subject officer was placed on paid administrative leave.

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