FARMINGTON — A Flora Vista man and his girlfriend say Farmington police officers violated their rights and sexually assaulted the woman during a traffic stop.
The couple plans to sue the Farmington Police Department, the city of Farmington and two police officers.
Richard Davis and his girlfriend sent a notice of tort claim to the police department on Sept. 6 in connection to a Sept. 3 traffic stop. Davis also filed a formal complaint with police on Sept. 4.
The Daily Times does not name sexual assault victims.
Davis, his girlfriend and Davis' 5-year-old daughter stopped at the KFC in Bloomfield at about 8 p.m. Sept. 3, and a Farmington police car parked behind them and turned on its emergency lights, Davis said in a phone interview Thursday.
An officer asked Davis to step outside of his Dodge Durango and frisked him, Davis said.
"He said it was an anonymous tip, and he wanted to know where the narcotics were," Davis said.
The other officer frisked Davis' girlfriend. Davis said the officer touched her breasts and underneath her shorts, according to the notice.
"She started yelling for help," Davis said. "He was frisking her in a very inappropriate manner."
Davis said he was handcuffed and placed in a Farmington patrol car while the officers searched the vehicle with his child in it without his permission. He said he told the officers not to search his car.
Farmington attorney Arlon Stoker wrote the notice on behalf of the couple. A notice of tort claim informs a public agency that someone is planning to file a lawsuit against it.
"The investigation thus far has revealed that your involved police officers caused and/or contributed to the sexual assault and civil rights violation suffered by (the woman), and the civil rights violation suffered by Mr. Davis," Stoker said in the notice.
Davis said his girlfriend was shaken by the experience.
The officers didn't find any drugs in the car and let Davis and his girlfriend leave after about 45 minutes. Davis said the officers told the couple they "had the wrong vehicle."
Farmington police Lt. Taft Tracy, who works in internal affairs, said he has initiated a formal complaint investigation into incident.
He said the officers involved were working a case that is still being investigated. Because that case is active, Tracy said Farmington police are not releasing the dashboard camera footage of the incident or the officer's reports.
"When we can release (the video and the reports) we will, but I don't know what the time frame is," he said.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.