Police officers Shandy Cobane and Mary Woollum have now responded to Martin Monetti's federal lawsuit against them and the city in the alleged "Mexican piss" excessive-force incident caught on video in April 2010. Monday, through City Attorney Pete Holmes, they denied Monetti's charges of brutality and civil-rights violations. Despite his claims, Monetti did not comply with police orders, they say, and any physical or legal injuries he suffered were the result of his own conduct.
In his June lawsuit, Monetti, 22, said he was wrongly detained while police were investigating a nearby armed robbery near the China Harbor restaurant on Westlake the night of April 17, 2010. While Monetti "was prone and being compliant," Cobane used his foot to "kick and stomp on Monetti's head and hand several times," Monetti alleges, claiming some of the kicks were not caught on the infamous viral vid.
Woollum, he claims, "stomped on Monetti's lower back with her foot." Cobane is also accused of making "a number of racist and demeaning comments to Monetti" and a second man during the incident, including the memorable "You got me? I am going to kick the fucking Mexican piss out of you homey. You feel me?"
Police officials, in a statement when the suit was filed, said officers "had reasonable suspicion to detain Mr. Monetti," but acknowledged that Cobane's comments "were unacceptable."
However, Cobane, who received a 30-day suspension in May because of his actions, says in his response to the lawsuit that while he "made statements that were captured on video," he denies Monetti's "characterization" of those comments as racist.
He and Woollum are asking for a jury to hear the case, which does not specify the amount of monetary damages sought, although Monetti asked for $750,000 from the city in an earlier rejected damage claim for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical costs.