LA County

Woman Files Lawsuit Against LAPD, Claiming Wrongful Arrest

A woman has filed a federal lawsuit claiming excessive force by Los Angeles police who she said arrested her for no reason and handcuffed her behind her back, even though she was just two days away from giving birth.

Yolanda Villasenor, 26, was nine months pregnant and five days late when she was arrested at a check-cashing business in Hollywood last August.

Villasenor had gone in to cash her disability check two days before doctors were set to induce her into labor.

"I didn't know what to say," said Yolanda Villasenor. "I had never been in that situation, so I just took it."

Her attorney, Ralph Rios, said she did nothing wrong.

"The police had no probable cause to arrest her," said Rios.

He said someone at the check-cashing business called police claiming the $296 check was a fake.

In a federal lawsuit filed last week against the LAPD, Villasenor alleges she was harassed, threatened, discriminated against and arrested, even though she claims she showed the officers proof the check was real.

She said she was handcuffed, arms behind her back, both by LAPD officers and by LA County Sheriff's deputies once she arrived at the women's jail in Lynwood.

The LAPD wouldn't comment on the case but the sheriff's department, which is not a party in the lawsuit, said pregnant inmates are only cuffed in the front, which Villasenor said is not true.

She also said she was forced to undergo an X-ray while at the jail, even though she feared it would hurt her baby.

"I guess my impulse was to hold my stomach and I remember she screamed at me, don't (expletive) hold your stomach! If I have to do two X-rays then that is going to be bad!"

But the sheriff's department said pregnant inmates are never forced to have the standard X-ray.

When she was released the following Monday, she had her baby, but only after she says she got a call from the investigating officer.

She said the officer who arrested her apologized, said the check was legitimate and said she could pick it up.

The officer also said the check-cashing business who reported her felt bad, "so call them too so they can feel better," Villasenor said the officer told her.

"I was like, what?"

Contact Us