GREELEY | A woman jailed for 49 days before forgery charges against her were dismissed is suing the city of Greeley, its police department and a police officer for false arrest and imprisonment, The Tribune reported Thursday.
The Tribune cited the suit filed last month by 39-year-old Alma Rubi Chavez-Torres. Chavez-Torres, who had given birth to a daughter three months before, was arrested at home in front of her five children in February, 2012, and taken to the county jail.
She was charged with forgery in connection with an attempt to cash a check on a Greeley man’s account. The charges were dismissed when a bank videotape furnished by Greeley police showed it was not Chavez-Torres who committed the crime.
Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner said he could not comment on the suit. City attorney Douglas Marek says the city denies the allegations.
The arrest came after bank employees told police that a woman had tried to cash a check for $857.38 on a man’s account, using a driver’s license identifying her as Chavez-Torres. The woman became nervous and fled the bank, leaving the check and license behind.
Chavez-Torres, who says her license had been stolen, strongly denied the charges when police arrived at her home the day following the incident at the bank. Her suit notes the woman at the bank was described as very skinny with tattoos on her neck or hands, and that none of the bank employees indicated she spoke with an accent. According to the suit, Chavez-Torres weighed in excess of 140 pounds on the day of the incident, had no tattoos on her neck or hands, and is a native Spanish-speaker who speaks with a heavy accent and has difficulty communicating in English.
According to the lawsuit, a meeting between the bank employees and Chavez-Torres was not arranged, nor was she put into a line-up for identification.
The lawsuit alleges Greeley police prolonged the release of the bank’s videotape to both the district attorney and Chavez-Torres’ lawyer, which extended her stay in jail.