Man Whose Leg Was Broken by Police During Arrest Retains Noted Attorney, Lawsuit Planned

Published : Monday, December 18, 2017 | 6:52 AM

Christopher Ballew

Christopher Ballew, via Facebook

[Updated]   Christopher Ballew, the 21-year-old Altadenan injured in a November 9 encounter with two Pasadena police officers which was detailed in the City’s first-ever public release of police body camera video last week, has retained noted Pasadena attorney John Burton.

Burton said Sunday afternoon that he is planning legal action against the City of Pasadena.

“We will be pursuing a claim for money damages, Burton said. “The reason is not just to get justice for him and compensation for what are some significant injuries that he has sustained but also to find out and document and expose what happened here.”

“Some of it is clear from the video but a lot of that is actually a complete mystery to me, and I’m very anxious to find out how [police] are going to try to explain some of this conduct — which to me is inexplicable,” Burton said.

The six videos released by the City on December 15 show a traffic stop which quickly became confrontational.

In the videos, the two officers use increasing force after Ballew does not cooperate with officers while being taken into custody as the incident quickly unfolds.

A struggle ensues, and the officers manage to secure only one of Ballew’s wrists in handcuffs before Ballew momentarily breaks loose from the cuffing attempt.

At one point, after Ballew grabs and pulls an ASP baton from one officer, that officer draws his firearm and points it at Ballew, then quickly holsters the gun after the baton falls to the ground.

Ultimately the officers subdue and arrest Ballew, who suffered a broken fibula, injuries to his legs which required sutures, and a bloodied forehead.

Burton said the most serious aspect of the officers’ behavior was when one pulled out his firearm and aimed it at Ballew.

“I mean was he going to kill him? For having tinted windows?” Burton said.

City officials have said little about the incident other than to say that it remains under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department.

Burton said a press conference is planned for later this week at which Ballew is expected to appear to take questions from media.

“Chris is a very intelligent young man … he’s got a definite viewpoint about what these officers did and he needs to speak for himself about that,” Burton said.

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