Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 17 Jul 2019 12am







    Tuesday, July 16, 2019-2:33:57P.M.






Font Size


High-speed-chase suspect sues DPS

ONE of the two suspects involved in a high-speed chase on Dec. 9, 2016 has sued the Department of Public Safety, its top official and officers in federal court. Police officers were video-recorded as they beat the suspects with batons.

 Vincent San Nicolas Norita sued DPS, its Commissioner Robert A. Guerrero in his official capacity, Officers Stanley Patris and Carlo Evangelista, in their personal and official capacities, and unnamed defendants for violations of constitutional rights, for use of excessive and unreasonable force, and assault and battery resulting in serious bodily injury.

Norita also sued the defendants for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

Through his counsel Rene C. Holmes, Norita is asking the District Court for the NMI for an award of damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress in an amount to be proven at trial.

Norita also sued for punitive damages in an amount to be proven at trial.

Holmes likewise asked the court for an injunction directing DPS to adopt and implement procedures for hiring, retention, promotion, training and disciplining law enforcement personnel to prevent the use of excessive force, and assault of arrested persons in the future.

On Dec. 12, 2016, Norita appeared in court for a bail hearing on crutches, with his left hand and left leg in casts.

Norita was charged with theft of a vehicle, fleeing a traffic accident scene, reckless driving, eluding a police officer, and receiving stolen property.

On Dec. 22, 2016 the Office of the Attorney General moved to dismiss without prejudice the charges against Norita.

The motion-to-dismiss noted that the Office of the AG had not been provided with a report from the Department of Public Safety.

Norita’s lawsuit states that DPS was in pursuit of a vehicle he was driving. His passenger was Joe Egipito Ada.

When the high-speed pursuit ended in the wreck of the vehicle, Holmes said Norita and Ada climbed out of the car and stood near it.

According to the lawsuit, Patris approached Norita and Ada and instructed them to get on the ground. Norita complied, his lawyer said.

Holmes said Patris then “brutally beat Norita with his DPS-issued baton as [the plaintiff] lay defenseless on the ground.”

Holmes said Evangelista also used his baton and beat Norita as he lay on the ground.

“Norita was in extreme pain from the repeated blows by the two DPS officers with their batons,” his lawyer said, adding that  Norita “believed he was going to die during the beating.”

Holmes said a bystander video-recorded Patris and Evangelista’s “excessive beating of Norita.”

After beating Norita and despite injuries to his hand, the police handcuffed him and left him on the ground in pain, Holmes said.

She said the defendants also kneeled on Norita’s face and neck while they handcuffed him, causing further pain and suffering.

The lawsuit states that when paramedics arrived on the scene and began to question Norita about his injuries, the defendants told the medics to leave Norita alone.

Holmes said despite obvious injuries to Norita and Ada who were audibly crying out in pain, the defendants did not let the paramedics treat them.

She said Norita did not decline the medical treatment.

The lawsuit also alleges that after depriving Norita of on-scene medical care, instead of transporting him to the hospital, the  officers took him to the DPS office because they wanted to conduct a breathalyzer test on him. But after speaking with Norita, they realized that there was no odor of alcohol on his breath and  so they decided not to conduct the breathalyzer test, the lawsuit said.

But instead of taking Norita to the hospital for medical care at this point, Holmes said he was taken to the jail for booking.

The lawyer said a Corrections officer refused to admit Norita because of his obvious injuries, and told the police officers to obtain medical attention for him, Holmes said.

It was only then that defendants took Norita to the hospital emergency room, she added.

As the result of the unreasonable and excessive force, Norita suffered severe injuries to his head, back, arm and leg, the lawsuit states.

It added that Norita had swelling and extreme pain in multiple locations on his body and was diagnosed with a fractured hand, rib and leg.

Norita had a cast applied on his arm and a removable cast on his leg, Holmes said, adding that his hand was permanently disfigured as a result of the blows.

Holmes said on information and belief, Patris and Evangelista were not criminally prosecuted for their excessive use of force and the injuries they caused Norita; and that they remained employed by DPS despite having acted with grave misconduct and abuse of authority.

Variety was unable to get a comment from DPS.