Winters rejects "false arrest" tort claim filed against police

Maribel Alexis, who was arrested on suspicion of DUI, filed the claim against the city of Winters in June.
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driving with hazard lights turned on and resisting arrest. In a blotter published by the Express, police said Alexis was “booked at the Winters Police Department and transported to [the] Yolo County Jail for incarceration.” In June, Alexis filed a tort claim against the city of Winters accusing the Winters Police Department of “false arrest, abuse of authority” and “excessive use of force.” Alexis did not provide information about specific costs associated with the alleged damage incurred, writing “TBD” in those fields. The tort claim was one of two summarily rejected by the Winters City Council during its meeting on July 17 and referred to the Yolo County Public Agency Risk Management Insurance Authority. City Attorney Ethan Walsh said it was “very common for cities to deny all claims received and go through the insurance process to resolve them one way or the other.” “We tender these to our insurance provider, since tort claims are covered under our insurance,” Walsh said. “Our insurance provider could pay [out] or not; of course its all very fact dependent and not necessarily due to any actual liability of the city.” The city has to respond to tort claims by a specific deadline, Walsh said, and the standard practice for the city is to “deny claims within the statutory timeframe.” Tort claims are commonly filed against police departments as a precursor to a lawsuit, particularly when a complaint is made alleging excessive force. A lawsuit typically can proceed if a government agency doesn’t respond to the tort claim by the deadline or rejects it. It wasn’t immediately clear if Alexis intended to file a lawsuit against the police department or the city; she didn’t return a phone call from the Express seeking comment by press time. A Winters Police Department spokesperson said the agency does not comment on matters where litigation is pending. Alexis was released from custody under a notice to appear in March and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 31.]]>

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