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Family Of 16-year-Old Plans Lawsuit Against City Of Rialto For Violent Arrest

RIALTO (CBSLA) — The family of the 16-year-old girl who was thrown to the ground by police during an arrest in Rialto plans to sue the police department, city and county for more than $25,000 according to their lawyer.

One of the Rialto police officers involved has been placed on leave after cellphone footage of the arrest emerged. 

"You have a duty to protect and serve," said attorney Caree Harper. "When you put hands on her you were not protecting her when you threw her down."

The incident happened on Feb. 11 after two Rialto police officers stopped the 16-year-old girl for allegedly riding an illegal street bike and speeding on a residential street just a few blocks from her home. One witness, Michael Estes claimed that the girl "was belligerent from the start," allegedly spitting on the officers.

"It turned into a little tussle on the ground," said Estes. "First, they grabbed her and she kind of fought back. It was a hard drop. They could have been a little bit more delicate."

In the video, the teen could be heard pleading for her brother. Her family asked for the video to not be blurred to show the violence unfold.

"We want you to see his hand on her throat," said Harper.

The Rialto Police Department said the teen refused to identify herself and lied about her age. An officer can be heard asking if the girl tried to bite him during the struggle.

Following her arrest, officers dropped the teen in a Juvenile Hall where she spent four days.

"I realize what was stolen from my child," said the teen's mother Lashay Graves. "She is no longer that child anymore. She is now afraid to go outside."

RELATED: Lashay Grayes, Mother Of Rialto Teen Involved In Lawsuit Over Violent Arrest, Arrested On Multiple Charges Friday

The department has denied requests for further comments but did release a statement coupled with an apology. According to the family, the teen suffered a concussion and shoulder injury.

"I was in tears," said father Demetrio Jennings. "She was crying out and I wasn't there to help her. I didn't get there fast enough."

The District Attorney's office has launched an investigation into this case. Rialto police have also launched their own investigation into the incident. The office placed on administrative leave will still be paid while the second officer remains on patrol.

On Friday, Lashay Grayes, was arrested and booked on multiple charges including Battery on a Peace Officer and Resisting An Officer, after causing a disturbance at a medical clinic in Rialto.

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