A federal judge has thrown out an excessive force and wrongful arrest lawsuit against two city police officers. The judge granted the city’s motion for summary judgment in Junior Huertas v James Ivanko and Omar Jimenez, meaning the case was dismissed because the judge concluded there was not enough evidence to proceed to trial.
Bridgeport police were attempting to clear the crowded streets after the Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 12, 2009. It was estimated that there were 2,500 to 3,000 revelers in the area of Park Avenue. Police encountered a house party at 358 Park Ave. with a DJ and two speakers pointed toward the street. Between 8:15 and 8:30 p.m., police approached the DJ and asked him to turn down the music. The DJ complied but screamed at police in protest. About 15 minutes later, police continued to clear the street and an officer tried to speak to a man on the porch of 358 Park Ave. The man cursed at the officer, inciting a large crowd, and after the man continued to refuse to quiet down police moved to arrest him. Huertas then intervened, stating “You ain’t touching him.” Standing no more than 12 inches from the officers, Huertas repeatedly refused to back up. When police told him to stop or face arrest, Huertas began yelling and inciting the crowd of about 40 to 50 people. Two police officers moved to arrest him and separate him from Jimenez but Huertas resisted. Huertas fell over the porch railing but a police officer grabbed his legs to prevent him from falling to the ground. He let go when a female attacked him from behind and started punching the officer. On the ground, Huertas continued to resist officers’ efforts to get him on the ground and kept grabbing onto an officer’s duty belt and weapon. Huertas sued, naming Officers James Ivanko and Omar Jimenez as defendants.