The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday, February 7th to make a settlement for $500,000 to be paid to a truck driver, Tommy Franks, Jr. from Mesa, AZ for wrongful arrest by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies. Franks was arrested for “loitering” while making deliveries and eating muffins on February 6th, 2019.
Tommy Franks Jr. was in Apple Valley, making a scheduled delivery to a WinCo supermarket in the Jess Ranch Marketplace. He parked his truck at the loading dock behind the building to unload the goods he delivered. The entrance was locked and he decided to go into the store and inform the manager that he had arrived. While passing through the supermarket he decided to buy muffins.
Franks was walking around the building towards the truck with a clipboard and muffins when Apple Valley Police Department deputies stopped him on the way and asked what he was doing. Franks replied that he was walking. Deputies charged him with “loitering” and attempted to determine his identity. Franks was wearing a uniform with the company logo, and a manifest of delivery with the company logo attached to a clipboard, the same as the logo on the truck. The semi-truck was still parked on the loading dock.
Franks declined to identify himself. He told two deputies that he couldn’t be “loitering” if he was walking. One of the Deputies, named Deputy Tayler Loup, stated later that Franks took a fighting stance. The policemen took away his clipboard and muffins, put handcuffs on his hands, and placed him in a police car. The handcuffs were so tight that Franks suffered pain while they were on his hands.
In his lawsuit, Franks alleged that his Fourth Amendment Right was violated. This Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people from being unreasonably searched and seized by the government.
Franks asked several times to speak with supervisors, which he was not allowed to do. Deputies informed the truck driver at his hostile behavior and active stance led to his arrest and handcuffing. He was taken to prison where he spent the night. In the prison cell where Franks was, there were seven men who were criminals and alcoholics. He was repeatedly called an “idiot” by a supervisor when he complained about being arrested without reason. The next day, Franks was charged with resisting arrest. The San Bernardo County District Attorney’s Office dropped the lawsuit because there was insufficient evidence. Franks was released.
According to Franks’ legal attorney, Jerry Steering, in the state of California, it is not a crime to refuse to identify yourself to a cop even if they have a legal reason to detain you. He believes that his client has not done anything that could be interpreted as a violation.
Franks sued San Bernardino County Deputies for wrongful arrest, overnight jailing, and malicious prosecution.
The trial was in the Orange County courtroom for 2 ½ days and the verdict was that Franks is to receive $375,000 but the San Bernardo County Board of Supervisors decided to make a settlement for $500,000 to be paid to the truck driver for the wrongful arrest by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies.