Courts

Suspect in viral Dutch Bros arrest sues Rocklin over excessive force

ROCKLIN, Calif. — The suspect involved in a viral arrest outside of a Rocklin coffee shop last September is suing the city for excessive force.

Brenden Owens, 20, says he developed an arm injury and anxiety after an unidentified officer pointed his gun at him and twisted his arm into his back for 20 seconds.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Owens by the law offices of John L. Burris in a federal court in Sacramento, claims the officer engaged in “malicious, wanton, and oppressive” conduct by aiming his service weapon at the fully compliant Owens, placing both knees on his back, and “forcefully twisting” his right arm.

“At no point during this incident did Owens resist the officer,” the lawsuit reads. “The Officer is liable for the use of excessive force against Mr. Owens.”

As The Update previously reported, the officer responded to the Dutch Bros. Coffee location on 3rd Street and Springview Drive after an employee called 911 saying Owens began “acting erratic” and was “possibly on something”.

Owens, originally sitting in a lot in a gold SUV according to a CAD incident report, left before returning to the business on foot. Then, he allegedly began to scream at employees and threaten them while exclaiming that his car was stolen. According to court records, Owens has been charged with four misdemeanors in relation to the event including resisting arrest.

In the 57-second video viewed by thousands on several social media platforms, Owens is seen yelling “ow” and “you’re hurting me” as the officer twists his arm. Several bystanders, including a woman who filmed the video, objected to the officer’s conduct.

The Rocklin Police Department has since deleted a press release promising transparency following an internal investigation. That probe has been finished since December, according to a city spokesperson, but no further announcements have been made, nor has any material been released.

Owens has asked to be awarded damages and attorney’s fees as determined by a jury at trial, as well as coverage for medical expenses, wage loss, and income support.

“Defendant’s above-described conduct was extreme, unreasonable, and outrageous,” the suit ends with. “Defendant attacked OWENS, without legal justification.”

The City of Rocklin was served with a summons on Monday and has 21 days to file a formal response with the court.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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