BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
A Redwood City mother has filed a lawsuit that claims law enforcement officers, who were searching her house in connection with a drug case involving her boyfriend, forced her to stand handcuffed in her front yard in nothing but an open bathrobe as her neighbors watched her exposed body.
Gabriela Naranjo, 43, contends that CHP officers, San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies and Redwood City police officers violated her and her children’s civil rights when they executed a search warrant at her Park Street home on March 28, 2017.
At 7:10 a.m., Naranjo was in the shower when police entered her home with guns drawn, frightening one of her children and the family dog who were in the living room, according to her federal lawsuit.
Police allegedly pointed their guns at the child and his dog, and told the boy to control the dog or they would shoot it. Meanwhile, officers went into the bathroom where Naranjo was showering, pointed a gun at her and told her not to move, the lawsuit states.
Naranjo asked if she could get a towel, but was told not to move until a female officer came into the room. So until Officer Amanda Meier came into the bathroom, Naranjo had to stand, nude, cold and wet in the shower.
When Meier arrived, she handcuffed Naranjo, who was still naked, and took her outside.
The officers put a bathrobe on over her shoulders, but since she was handcuffed, Naranjo could not hold it closed, nor was there a rope where the bathrobe could be tied shut. That meant that most of Naranjo’s body was still exposed.
Forced to stand outside
Naranjo and one of her children had to stand outside for 20 minutes, the lawsuit claims.
“Which to Ms. Naranjo felt like hours for her neighbors to see her naked, for her children to see her naked and for the officers to see her naked.”
Naranjo was brought back into her home, and taken to the bedroom where Meier took the handcuffs off her and told Naranjo to get dressed.
Once she was dressed, officers told Naranjo to wake up her two other children and take them outside. She was not allowed to grab a sweater, blanket or shoes for her children, the lawsuit claims.
Naranjo and her three children were put into a van, and had to wait there for at least a half hour. During that time, two of the children needed to use the restroom, but were told to wait by the police, Naranjo claims.
Warrant wasn’t for her
The search warrant that was being executed at Naranjo’s home was for her boyfriend, Jesus Bustos, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Bustos ended up being arrested that day and charged with six felonies that claimed he had illegal guns and possessed drugs he planned to sell, Wagstaffe said.
Naranjo is not a co-defendant in Bustos’ criminal case, nor has she been charged criminally in either San Mateo or Santa Clara counties, according to online records.
San Mateo County Counsel John Beiers, whose office is representing the sheriff’s office, told the Post that the lawsuit does not have merit.
“The Narcotics Task Force lawfully served search warrants signed by a judge as part of a serious criminal investigation that resulted in the arrest of Ms. Naranjo’s partner on drug and gun charges. The county disputes Ms. Naranjo’s version of events at the scene.The county has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that is pending and, if necessary, will litigate it vigorously,” Beiers said.
The Post did not hear back from Redwood City officials about the lawsuit.
City: officers were protecting themselves
However, court documents filed on behalf of the city claim that officers were protecting themselves and acting lawfully.
The listed defendants in the case are: Redwood City, San Mateo County, the CHP, Detective Michael Ruybal, Officer Richard Santiago, Agent Amanda Meier, Agent Jeffrey Clements, Agent Michael Leishman, then-Redwood City police chief JR Gamez, Sheriff Carlos Bolanos and CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.
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