A 58-year-old woman is suing two Glendale police officers who she claims falsified police reports about her arrest and used excess force when they detained her, causing her tailbone to break.
The woman, Annie Kwak, claims the false police reports ultimately led the Los Angeles County district attorney's office to file battery and resisting arrest charges against her for the May 17, 2011 incident. A jury eventually found her not guilty.
“I cried hard,” Kwak said. “I know justice can be brought. I know that I didn't do anything wrong.”
Kwak, who filed her lawsuit Aug. 2 in U.S. District Court, alleges Glendale Police Officers Suzanne O'Brien and Emmanuel Flores conspired to write a false report that claimed she allowed her daughter's 5-pound Maltese to attack Flores, and that she herself then attacked O'Brien.
“I was going to forgive them, but then I was thinking, ‘This should have never happened,'” Kwak said.
City spokesman Tom Lorenz said he could not comment on the lawsuit because officials had yet to receive or review the allegations.
“It's an extreme example, to me, of police officers really misusing their power,” Kwak's attorney, John Burton, said.
Kwak claims the officers were talking to two men outside her condominium in Glendale when she and the dog walked by. That's when the dog allegedly moved toward Flores and barked at him a few times.
Kwak claims O'Brien began yelling at her about the dog barking, then shoved her back.
When Kwak hesitated, she alleges in her lawsuit, O'Brien grabbed her left arm and twisted it. Flores took the dog's leash and Kwak was handcuffed, according to the lawsuit. Kwak claims she was then shoved down into the back seat of the patrol car, causing her tailbone to break.
Kwak didn't immediately request treatment for her broken tailbone, but after experiencing pain in her back the next day, she went to the doctor, who discovered bruises on her left arm and a wrist injury, according to the lawsuit. An inoperable fracture in her tailbone also was discovered, she said.
The officers' account of the incident differs significantly from Kwak's.
They claimed the dog bit Flores' leg and pulled his pant leg, and that Kwak twice pushed O'Brien's arm away when she tried to stop the dog, according to a police report. At that time, the officers said they grabbed Kwak, fearing she may try to hit O'Brien.
In a tape recording and transcript from the original case against Kwak, O'Brien urges her to walk the dog further away because it was barking at them.
Kwak replied that she was going to and to leave the dog alone.
O'Brien then told Kwak, “No, you. Take the dog,” as Flores said, “Listen.”
Kwak then told one of the officers: “Don't, don't hit me,” and, “Don't push me.”
O'Brien told Kwak: “You don't let him bite people.... What are you thinking?”
Flores told Kwak that she would go to jail if she didn't take the dog away, but she responded that they weren't giving her a chance to do so.
At that point, O'Brien can be heard saying, “Hey, don't push me.”
In the audio tape, Kwak later told an officer that she struck O'Brien in self-defense after she was pushing and yelling at her.