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$11,333.33 Paid by Santa Clara County to Teenage Girl Allegedly Beaten by Guards at County Juvenile Hall

By Chuck Sharman

For a payment of $11,333.33, Santa Clara County, California, agreed on September 10, 2018, to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who, while still underage, was allegedly brutalized by a pair of mall cops before law enforcement then took her to the county juvenile detention facility, where guards there beat her up again.

The woman, Savannah Owens, was still a 17-year-old when she was detained by two security guards at the Eastridge Shopping Center in San Jose on March 25, 2016. The two, who were unnamed and identified as Does 1 and 2 in the suit, allegedly handcuffed and tackled her to the ground, dragging her into out-of-the-way corridors where their brutality would not be observed.

A San Jose Police Department officer named Dawson then picked up Owens and took her to the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall (SCCJH) for failing to properly wear an electronic monitoring bracelet she’d been ordered to wear on an unrelated matter. There, still restrained in Dawson’s handcuffs, Owens was allegedly attacked and beaten again by SCCJH guards, leaving her with bruises and contusions.

Her suit was filed in Superior Court for the State of California, County of Santa Clara, on April 17, 2017, accusing the county of negligence and civil rights violations in allowing the beating by guards to take place at SCCJH. The suit also accused Eastridge Shopping Center and its private security contractor, Allied Barton Services, of assault and battery, false imprisonment and negligence.

The county responded on May 9, 2017, denying the allegations against it and its employees, though not addressing claims against the other defendants. The case was moved that same day to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, after which the county and plaintiff subsequently reached their settlement agreement. That agreement does not affect Owens’ claims against the other defendants. She was represented in her suit by Roger D. Hecht of the San Jose firm of Farling, Hecht & Davis. 

See: Owens v. Allied Barton Security, Case No. 5:17-CV-02681-LHK (N.D. Cal. May 9, 2017).

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Related legal case

Owens v. Allied Barton Security