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Another lawsuit brought against GPD

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The legal challenges keep piling for the Guam Police Department, as another lawsuit alleging violations of civil rights has been filed with the District Court.  Gillian Mary Hardman is suing the Government of Guam, specifically the Guam Police Department and officers Benny T. Babauta, Carlo E. Reyes, Kenneth J.C. Balajadia, Joseph B. Tenorio and others. 

"They did not respect the Constitution's requirement for a warrant," said Attorney Curtis Van De Veld of the case.  "They simply do whatever they want to do - like they're wild cowboys out in the west and this has to stop."

According to the verified complaint for damages and demand for trial by jury, on May 25, 2008 police received a harassment complaint against Hardman from a woman known to her.  Between midnight and 1:30 in the morning the following day, police went to her home in Tumon.  The plaintiff alleges that police forcibly broke open the door to her home without permission to enter and then confronted her while she was in her bedroom.

Van De Veld continued, "They go in the house, they grab my client, they take her outside and physically abuse her and in the process of doing so she ends up with a broken leg."

The attorney says his client pleaded for medical assistance but was taken to the Hagatna Precinct instead of the hospital. She later sustained a broken bone in her knee joint.

"We are not only suing for violation of civil rights, we are suing under the second cause of action for conspiracy to neglect prevent violation of civil rights because all of these officers who knew what each other was doing have a legal duty to prevent violations of law and violations of civil rights," Van De Veld said.

Hardman was arrested by police that morning for stalking, harassment and resisting arrest. She is suing for $300,000 in damages from the Government of Guam, as well as full and complete compensatory damages to be proven at trial, and for the cost of the lawsuit and attorney's fees and legal expenses.

"Hopefully from this lawsuit two things will happen: the Guam Police Department will end up making Ms. Hardman whole for the injuries she sustained, and GPD will suffer a significant black in financial loss in such that it's time to clean up their act," Van De Veld said.

GPD Spokesperson Officer A.J. Balajadia says a complaint was not filed with police but with the pending lawsuit, Internal Affairs will now look into the matter.  "We need to figure out exactly what this lawsuit is about and possibly even Internal Affairs will interview the officers and find out exactly took place," he told KUAM News.

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