Preston Wilson's complaint names three deputies

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FARMINGTON — The San Juan County Sheriff's Office is denying allegations in a lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was injured by deputies during a traffic stop last year.

Preston Wilson filed a complaint in district court in December 2016 against the sheriff's office and deputies Johnathan Clark, Dylan Faverino and Michael Carey, according to court records.

The sheriff's office declined comment on the lawsuit, as did the defendants' attorney Ronald Childress, citing the pending ligation.

The complaint focuses on a traffic stop on the night of Sept. 19, 2016, near U.S. Highway 64 and County Road 6200, according to the complaint. Wilson was pulled over by Clark following reports of erratic driving involving a vehicle that allegedly matched the description of Wilson's vehicle.

In the complaint, Wilson alleges Clark approached his vehicle with his pistol drawn, yelled at him to show his hands and ordered the driver out of the vehicle while Clark was pointing his pistol at him.

Wilson claims Clark had difficulty trying to handcuff him, which caused him to pull his hands back to his side to relieve the pain, according to court documents. Wilson is described in the court documents as a Navajo man who is a "large, stocky and muscular man with big arms, wide shoulders and a wide back."

Clark allegedly slammed Wilson face first into the ground and placed his knees on Wilson's back. Wilson was rendered unconscious by the blow to his head, according to court documents.

Faverino and Carey arrived later at the scene and allegedly helped Clark handcuff Wilson, leaving him on the ground for a period of time, the complaint states.

Wilson alleges the deputies saw that he was injured and initially refused to render aid to him. He claims they failed to call an ambulance before eventually summoning medical services providers.

Arlon Stoker, Wilson's attorney, said his client has incurred more than $30,000 in medical expenses from the alleged incident and that he suffered a tear in his rotator cuff.

"It's not good for the sheriff's department," Stoker said.

In a response filed on Jan. 6, the defendants denied most of the accusations levied by Wilson, according to court documents.

The answer to the complaint filed by Childress states Clark stopped Wilson on County Road 6118 based on reports of erratic driving by someone in a dark-blue sedan. Wilson's vehicle was observed randomly braking and crossing into the opposite lane of traffic, according to court documents.

The defendants admit Clark approached the vehicle with his pistol drawn and gave commands to Wilson to show his hands and exit the vehicle, the complaint states. The court documents state Clark also told Wilson to put his hands behind his back while Clark attempted to handcuff him.

But the defendants deny most of the other claims, including that Clark slammed Wilson to the ground, that Wilson was unconscious and that he was deprived of timely medical services, according to the court documents.

The defendants seek dismissal of the complaint, along with attorney costs and further relief as the court deems just and proper.

Wilson was arrested at the traffic stop and later pleaded no contest to a petty misdemeanor charge of driving while under the influence of liquor and a misdemeanor charge of driving with a revoked license, according to court records.

Stoker said the charges don't affect Wilson's lawsuit. He said because someone is under suspicion, it doesn't give anyone the right to throw him to the ground.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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