A Los Angeles man and woman have filed a federal lawsuit against the Glendale Police Department, alleging a wrongful search last year during a traffic stop that led to their arrest.
David Thompson Boyd, 51, and Patricia Marie Hale, 52, claimed in a U.S. District Court lawsuit filed March 5 that they were stopped on their way to dinner on Aug. 31, 2012 in Glendale for unknown reasons, searched without probable cause, arrested and denied bail. The pair are representing themselves.
“It went from simply going to have dinner to all of a sudden being Bonnie and Clyde,” Boyd said, adding that he wants to know why the traffic stop escalated to an arrest.
City Atty. Mike Garcia declined to comment on the case because the city had not yet been served with the lawsuit.
Police Department booking records show Boyd was arrested that day on suspicion of identity theft, forging a public seal, falsification of car registration and carrying a loaded weapon in a vehicle on a public street. Hale was arrested on suspicion of identity theft, according to the booking reports.
Hale was never charged in connection to the arrest, but Boyd still faces nine counts of identity theft, one count of carrying a firearm in a vehicle and carrying a loaded firearm in public, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.
Boyd and Hale, who are friends, alleged they were pulled over about 8:15 p.m. that day on Brand Boulevard after the officer said he had “never seen [license] plates like those before,” according to the lawsuit.
At that point, Boyd and Hale claim the officer failed to identify a probable case for stopping and detaining them.
Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said the officer stopped the couple because Boyd’s Mercedes had an invalid license plate.
The officer then asked if Boyd had a gun and asked to search his car’s trunk, where officers discovered a loaded magazine for a .45 caliber handgun, he added.
Boyd claims in the lawsuit that he is registered gun owner.
A loaded .45-caliber handgun was discovered between the driver’s seat and door of Boyd’s car, Lorenz said. Boyd reportedly told officers he owned a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, he added.
Officers also found nearly $9,000, which Hale claimed she had obtained for a family visit abroad, according to the lawsuit.
Police also found items with several people’s personal identification information and receipts from various banks, Lorenz said.
Boyd and Hale claim officers used the handgun, data sheets and money to convert “these matters into probable cause and subsequent criminal charges,” according to the lawsuit.
The pair also allege they were denied bail and held without a hearing for days.
Investigators ultimately discovered that Boyd, who runs a tax service, was reportedly stealing his clients’ identities and filing false tax returns to receive refund checks, which were later cashed, Lorenz said.
Police identified 10 low-income men and women between 20 and 83 years of age who went to Boyd for tax-return service and were promised a tax refund but never received checks, he added.
Boyd said he hasn’t had the “chance to review” a criminal complaint since his detainment.