Wheelchair-bound man suing Pomona police over injuries sustained during rough arrest

A wheelchair-bound man is suing the Pomona Police Department over rough treatment during an arrest that left him with a fractured back.  

In April, Joel Garcia was in his wheelchair at the Cardenas Markets in the Rio Ranch mall asking for change and donations.  

He claims he wasn’t in the way of shoppers or cars.  

Police arrived and asked him to leave, but Garcia argued with officers that the parking lot was a free speech area and he had the right to be there. Garcia’s attorney says eventually officers forcibly removed him from his chair.  

"The officers, after a few minutes of discussion, pulled him from his chair, threw him to the floor, where his foot, his leg opened the wound and after that the officers put their knee on his back and fractured his back," said Garcia’s attorney Jaime Gutierrez.

Garcia is suing the city of Pomona and the police department, seeking damages in excess of $100,000 for surgeries needed on his leg and back.