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Woman Says Deputy Broke Her Nose When She Couldn't Find Her Gold Line Ticket Fast Enough

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A Pasadena woman says that a deputy broke her nose when she couldn't locate her Gold Line ticket in her purse quickly enough.

Carla Sameth, 50, identified as the owner of a PR firm based in Pasadena, wrote about the experience that happened over two years ago for a recent issue of the Pasadena Weekly. Her story begins on an afternoon when a sheriff's deputy asks passengers at the Highland Park stop to show their tickets. She writes:

I dig for my Metro Day Pass in the usual chaos of my bag. He barks at me to “keep looking” then says, “give me your driver’s license,” which I do immediately. I find the receipt for the pass that indicated the date and time I bought it. I show it to the deputy, who gestures impatiently for me to follow him off the train. “That’s not good enough; you can show it in court.”

I’m not eager to go to court or pay a fine: “Wait, please don’t cite me. I can find the pass; I know I have it.” “You’ll have a much worse day if you don’t get off right now,” he shouts, and I get right off. As I exit, I hear the crackle of a two-way radio.

Sheriff’s deputies immediately surround me — brown uniforms loom over me, blocking the view of the 4 p.m. rush of passengers swirling around the station. I start to look for my pass, but a female deputy orders, “Get up, put your hands there.”

“What, you are going to search me?” The words fly out before I can think, but I immediately put my arms on the pillar.

She searches me, shoving her hands roughly around my body, my breasts, around my waist and down under my underwear. I’ve never been patted down before, other than at the airport, and never this aggressively. Instinctively, I react to her hands jerking around my body, poking and grabbing. “Stop — you’re hurting me,” I cry and pull to the side.

Within a second, she bounces my head — SLAM, SLAM, SLAM — against the pillar, simultaneously snapping handcuffs behind my back.

I both hear and feel a loud crunch — impact of bone hitting hard surface. For a moment, I genuinely think I’m just having a bad dream.

One of the deputies whistles, “Oh dear, looks like she broke one.”

In fact, her nose did break. Sameth goes on to explain how she tried to navigate the county jail hospital to get treatment for her bloody, broken nose and make a phone call to her family (she fails at the second). She writes that she lawyered up afterward and managed to obtain a video of the incident at the Gold Line Station. Pasadena Weekly has what appears to be a screenshot of that video showing her bloodied face if you scroll down. Sameth says that she eventually accepted a $199,000 settlement more than 2 years after the fact.
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UPDATED: The county has some more information about Sameth's case in its board minutes from earlier this summer. The summary corrective action plan claims that Sameth resisted the deputy and inflicted the injury on herself:
After exiting the train, the plaintiff became loud and argumentative. One of the deputies (a female) initiated a cursory search of the plaintiff's person. The plaintiff resisted and attempted to separate herself from the deputy. She leaned forward and struck her nose on a metal flange protruding from a support pole. The plaintiff was examined at the scene by los Angeles Fire Department paramedics and subsequently transported to Los Angeles County.

The county went ahead and made a settlement because it considered going to trial too risky: "Due to the risks and uncertainties of litigation, a full and final settlement of the case in the amount of $199,000 is recommended."