What to Know
- The family has filed a civil rights lawsuit, alleging officers violated their first amendment rights for stopping them as they recorded cellphone video of the incident.
- Attorneys say despite being arrested and cited that night, Gadison and the Herefords have not been charged with a crime.
- NBCLA reached out to Hemet police officials about the accusations, and at this point they are not commenting.
Disturbing accusations are emerging against the Hemet Police Department after a Black family claims they were roughed up by officers after getting pulled over and not consenting to a vehicle search without a warrant.
The family has filed a civil rights lawsuit, alleging officers violated their first amendment rights for stopping them as they recorded cellphone video of the incident.
NBCLA reached out to Hemet police officials about the accusations, and at this point they are not commenting.
Cellphone video from March 2021 shows a chaotic scene after gang unit officers pulled over a car that didn't have a front license plate.
Ryan Gadison was the driver, and according to his attorney, he had just arrived at his fiancé's home to have dinner.
"One of the officers had his flashlight, and was looking into the vehicle he asked Gadison to come out and see if he could search his vehicle. As his right, he said he declined the search," said attorney Toni Jaramilla. "At that point officers forced him out of the vehicle, pinned him against the vehicle, and started to handcuff him. There was no reason for that."
Jaramilla says Gadison's fiancé Mariah Hereford and her mother Monett used their cellphones to record the arrest. One officer allegedly slapped the phone out of Hereford's hand causing her to fall to the ground.
"What she recalls -- because she did black out -- was the officer pulling her hair and slamming her head to the pavement. He did that several times," Jaramilla alleged.
That officer is accused injuring Hereford's face, and pulling her chin up in a way that caused her to choke. Jaramilla says an officer also confronted Monett for recording video.
"And her cellphone was also knocked out of her hand. She was then frisked inappropriately by a male office even though there was a female officer," Jaramilla alleged at a news conference.
Attorneys say all of this happened in front of Hereford's and Gadison's four small children.
"They hit the dogs for nothing. The dogs were just barking, chained up," someone can be heard saying in one of the video recordings.
In another video a neighbor is heard saying that the officers used batons to strike the family dogs that were in the front yard. The video also shows an officer holding up one dog by its collar.
"This is one of the worst cases of police abuse I've seen in my career," award-winning civil rights activist Najee Ali said at the news conference with the family.
Attorneys say despite being arrested and cited that night, Gadison and the Herefords have not been charged with a crime.
They have now filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court against the Hemet Police Department, claiming their first amendment rights were violated, and that the officers actions were excessive, and racially motivated.
"And to have two white officers and came on to our property and just attack us -- I felt like it felt like I was back in slave times," Monett Hereford said.