ARIZONA NEWS

Scottsdale approves $200,000 payment to settle wrongful arrest lawsuit

Apr 6, 2023, 1:00 PM

A screenshot of police body camera footage shows Scottsdale police questioning Yessenia Garcia on M...

A screenshot of police body camera footage shows Scottsdale police questioning Yessenia Garcia on May 24, 2020. (Via Taylor & Gomez LLP)

(Via Taylor & Gomez LLP)

PHOENIX – The Scottsdale City Council approved a $200,000 payment to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who said police ignored evidence of her innocence before arresting her in 2020.

Yessenia Garcia was exonerated after being arrested for DUI and hit-and-run on May 24, 2020. She filed a federal wrongful arrest complaint in May 2021 seeking at least $300,000. The case had been set to go to trial May 9.

The City Council voted unanimously to settle out of court, using funds from the city’s Safety and Risk Management Operating Budget, as part of the consent agenda during Tuesday’s meeting.

On the night of her arrest, Garcia found the windshield of her car broken out after she left an Old Town nightclub. She flagged down officers, who made the assumption she was involved in a nearby hit-and-run collision.

Surveillance video showed Garcia’s vehicle parked at the time of the hit-and-run. The footage also showed an unknown vandal jumping on Garcia’s car and breaking the windshield, according to her lawsuit.

Despite the available video evidence and witness reports that corroborated Garcia’s story, officers took her into custody.

Police issued a press release about the arrest at the time, including Garcia’s mug shot, but later dropped the charges.

“I was arrested, forced to strip, humiliated, and my photo put all over the news because the police chose to ignore the evidence,” Garcia said in an August 2021 press release.

The case first drew attention after ABC15 ran a story about it. Scottdale Police Chief Jeff Walther ordered an internal affairs investigation, which led to at least two department employees getting suspended without pay.

An unspecified number of staffers “received some degree of discipline or counseling” for violating policy or failing to meet expectations, the department said in a press release at the time.

In the strongest rebukes, one person was suspended for 40 hours and another for 20 hours, both without pay, according to the release, which didn’t say what other punishments were handed out or how many.

“We made some mistakes plain and simple, and the involved employees have been disciplined for those mistakes,” Walther said in the release.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A woman was rescued 36 hours after her car crashed about 200 feet down an embankment in Arizona. (P...

KTAR.com

Woman rescued 36 hours after car crashes 200 feet down embankment in Arizona

A woman was rescued 36 hours after her car crashed about 200 feet down an embankment in Arizona, authorities said Monday.

59 minutes ago

Smoke billowed over north Phoenix after an abandoned restaurant caught fire in north Phoenix on Jun...

KTAR.com

Abandoned restaurant catches fire, billows smoke over north Phoenix

Smoke billowed over north Phoenix after an abandoned restaurant caught fire in north Phoenix on Monday afternoon, authorities said.

3 hours ago

pool party in the Valley Arizona liability homeowner...

Serena O'Sullivan

Homeowners can be held liable for drownings, injuries in their pools, Phoenix attorney says

Want to host a pool party in the Valley this summer? You can be held liable if someone injures themselves or drowns in your pool.

3 hours ago

Herman Campbell is the subject of a Silver Alert issued June 17, 2024, in Phoenix....

KTAR.com

Silver Alert issued for Phoenix man with medical condition who went missing over weekend

Authorities have issued a Silver Alert for a 65-year-old Phoenix man with a medical condition who went missing.

5 hours ago

Leaving a child in a hot car lands Mesa woman in jail, police say...

Serena O'Sullivan

Mesa woman left her child in car that measured 129 degrees, police say

Nichole Yazzie, a 32-year-old Mesa mother, was accused by authorities of leaving a child in a hot car during an excessive heat warning.

5 hours ago

A view of the Bright Angel Trail near Pipe Creek River Resthouse in the Grand Canyon. A man died wh...

KTAR.com

Man dies while hiking out of Grand Canyon after night at Bright Angel Campground

A man died while hiking on the Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon National Park over the weekend, authorities announced Monday.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Scottsdale approves $200,000 payment to settle wrongful arrest lawsuit