On June 26, 2019, a civil rights violation lawsuit was dismissed against the county of San Bernardino and the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department. The plaintiff, Joshua Konikow, claimed deputies violated his First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, when they arrested him for violating a court order, failure to yield, and resisting arrest.

The incident took place in the city of Hesperia on Feb. 27, 2016.

According to a sheriff’s department press release, Konikow was at the residence of a person protected by a restraining order against Konikow.

Prior to deputy arrival, Konikow fled the area in a red Pontiac Sunfire. While conducting an area check, Sgt. Jose Avila located the vehicle and attempted a traffic stop, yet Konikow fled.

A brief vehicle pursuit ensued and Konikow drove back to the residence where the victim was located. Konikow ran from his car toward the front door of the residence of the protected victim and ignored verbal commands.

Avila deployed his Taser twice on Konikow, yet it was not effective. Konikow laid down on his stomach and placed his hands behind his back. When Avila approached to handcuff Konikow, Konikow grabbed Avila’s wrist and spun around. Konikow began to fight and continued to ignore commands. Avila and Konikow fought until assisting Deputy Brian Lovasco arrived and tackled Konikow. Konikow continued to fight both Avila and Lovasco.  

Deputies David Curtis and Joseph Lascala arrived and attempted to take Konikow into custody, yet he continued to fight. Konikow fought the four sheriff’s department personnel until they were finally able to handcuff Konikow.

On April 25, 2016, Konikow agreed to a plea bargain for evading a peace officer.  He was sentenced to felony probation for the original charge. Since being placed on probation, he has violated probation several times including serving a 16-month term for violation of probation.

On March 1, 2018, the county of San Bernardino, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department and the involved personnel were served with a lawsuit claiming civil rights violations.  The attorneys representing Konikow, who filed the lawsuit, were James Terrell and Sharon Brunner who later withdrew from the case.  San Bernardino County was represented by Deputy County Counsel Laura Crane. The case was dismissed in favor of San Bernardino County and the Sheriff’s Department.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department encourages the public to become informed on civil court cases.  State lawsuits can be reviewed at sb-court.org. To review federal lawsuits, an account can be created on pacer.gov. With this account information, cases can be reviewed by any member of the public.

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