San Mateo County Superior Court custodian Jose Verdusco filed an amended complaint with the court on Monday (March 14) in which he adds a civil-rights violation to several other allegations made in a March 11 complaint against Deputy Sheriff Andy Mar. The complaint accuses Mr. Mar of having unholstered and pointed a loaded gun at Mr. Verdusco while inside a courtroom in April 2015.
Mr. Verdusco's amended complaint, prepared by Redwood City attorney Todd P. Emanuel, also alleges assault, false imprisonment and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The complaint names San Mateo County as a co-defendant and alleges negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention.
Mr. Verdusco has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress, spent money on drugs and medical services, has not returned to work in part out of fear of being "in close proximity to bailiffs with weapons," and has thus suffered damage to his future earning capacity, the complaint says.
The complaint accuses Deputy Mar of behavior that intentionally and recklessly disregarded the "health, safety, privacy, freedom, and human dignity" of Mr. Verdusco, and was "so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and should be regarded as despicable, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized society."
In May, prosecutors charged Mr. Mar with a misdemeanor offense of brandishing a firearm. He was placed on paid administrative leave on April 15, 2015, a status that remains in effect, a Sheriff's Office spokesperson said.
A case management conference is scheduled for June 2.
The incident, according to the complaint, took place on the morning of April 13, 2015, after Mr. Verdusco entered courtroom 7B to speak with the court clerk and court reporter. Deputy Mar was also in the room, in uniform and working as a bailiff, the complaint says.
"Without cause or provocation," Mr. Mar allegedly pulled his loaded gun from his holster and pointed it at Mr. Verdusco with his finger on the trigger and said, "You want some South Carolina justice?" the complaint says. The South Carolina reference, according to the complaint, referred to events at the time involving police officer shootings of minority civilians.
Mr. Verdusco became "alarmed and scared" and moved to avoid being within the sights of the gun, eventually "escaping" the courtroom through a back door, the complaint says. The court clerk witnessed these events, the complaint says.
The incident was reported and two deputies went to the courtroom to address the situation, the complaint says. While in the courtroom, Mr. Mar allegedly told one of the deputies that he "did it" after the deputy had advised Mr. Mar not to be making self-incriminating statements.
The accusation of a civil rights violation refers to an earlier encounter between Mr. Mar and Mr. Verdusco in which Mr. Mar allegedly said, "They hire any Mexican here," a reference to Mr. Verdusco's "race, color, ancestry and/or national origin," the complaint says.