A retired police officer found himself on the other side of the law after he claims he was falsely accused of a crime. Donald Lumb spent 15 years at the Chula Vista Police Department as an officer before eventually retiring due to medical issues. Not only was his a long-term employee, but a model officer. Lumb devoted four of his years to the K-9 unit. He was also an expert on auto theft and was awarded with a gold pin for his accomplishments. Lumb was also a military veteran and devoted six months to work with military police in Iraq and with two years in Californiaâ€™s National Guard. During his time with the National Guard, he was a vital component of Operation Jumpstart and Operation Gatekeeper. These operations were key in the controlling Californiaâ€™s borders from illegal immigrants. In fact, Lumbâ€™s record shows that he apprehended at least 1,500 undocumented immigrants during his time working the operations.
Despite his heavy contributions to the border patrol efforts, it was at the border where he found himself tangled in a legal dispute. The seasoned retired police officer claims he was assaulted and arrested on false charges of assaulting a federal agent. Court documents show that Lumbâ€™s complaint explains that he and a â€œjuvenile passengerâ€ were traveling Interstate 8, when they reached a checkpoint. It was there that Border Patrol Agent Alejandro Martinez told Lumb to stop the vehicle.
Lumb told the court he was driving his fianceeâ€™s son to school. He knew there would be a checkpoint on their route and he was fully prepared to stop and talk to the officer. Lumb says he calmly rolled down his window and greeted Martinez. Instead of reciprocating the kindness, Lumb says Martinez became hostile. He claims that Martinez immediately demanded the citizenship status of Lumb and his fianceeâ€™s son. Lumb assured the officer that there were legal Americans, but Martinez continued to intimidate them.
â€œMartinez refused to let them go and walked the perimeter of the car, peering into the windows, cargo area and walking back around to Lumb,â€ court documents explain.
Lumb said this is where he began to feel uneasy and believed that he was going to be falsely arrested. He tried to reason with Martinez, explaining that he was a retired police officer. Since he was beginning to feel threatened, he explained that he knew his rights and wanted to speak to a supervisor. Martinezâ€™s superior officer, Pete Burgos appeared and defended Martinezâ€™ actions and sent Lumb to a secondary checkpoint. Once he had parked, Lumb said he calmly got out of his car and leaned up against it with his arms by his sides. Despite Lumbâ€™s peaceful demeanor, things took a violent turn. Court documents play out what Lumbâ€™s attorney is calling a brutal attack:
â€œSupervisor Burgos began yelling at Lumb to get back on the vehicle. Lumb attempted to comply but as he placed his hand on the car door handle to open it – and without warning – he was sprayed with a chemical agent. Lumb was shoved from behind and slammed against the car, and then slammed to the ground. Approximately four to five sets of hands were grabbing at Lumb and one agent was kneeling on his back.
Lumb began pleading that he wasnâ€™t resisting. The agent on his back (Doe 1) was screaming â€˜Shut up! Shut the f— up!â€™ The agents forced Lumb into a single set of handcuffs causing instant pain to Lumbâ€™s shoulders. Another agent was yelling for agents to take Lumbâ€™s watch, and another screamed, â€˜Heâ€™s got a gun.â€™â€
Lumb recalled his horrific encounter for the courtroom. He further explained about the pain he felt as he jostled and pushed around. He remembers the burning of the pepper spray. He claims he had to wait 15 minutes until he was allowed to properly wash out his eyes. Despite his pleas with more supervisory agents, he was eventually taken to a local police station and charged with resisting arrest.
Eventually the charges were dropped after Burgos admitted that he did not know if Lumb was really guilty of any wrongdoing.
â€œThere is no defense for the agentâ€™s actions, especially when a superior officer admits that they were wrong,â€ explained a San Diego citizenship attorney. â€œThe plaintiff has proved to the court that these agents have a history of falsely accusing people of crimes.â€
The border patrol has ignored all requests from the media for comments. Lumb continues to seek financial compensation for the ordeal, claiming a variety of damages, such as civil rights violations, excessive force and unlawful detainment.