Washoe County paid a $75,000 settlement Thursday in an excessive force case involving a college student who was forced to the ground at Incline Village after not wearing a life vest while on a stand up paddleboard at Lake Tahoe, the law office of Terri Keyser-Cooper said.
Lauren Kettell, 19, alleged Washoe County Sheriff’s Deputy Brent Coss yelled at her to not paddle in the lake without a life vest. Coss allegedly demanded she get in his boat, but Kettell requested they talk on her grandparent’s beach.
Once arriving on the beach, Kettell waited for Coss. The deputy then ran at her, grabbed her, and threw her to the ground, the law office said.
Kettell remained on the ground for 10 minutes with Coss’ knee in her back.
Coss was represented by David Creekman of the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office. Creekman did not return phone calls and a voicemail in time for the posting of this story.
“It was totally unfair,” Kettell said in a statement. “I was doing exactly what he told me to do, going to get my life vest at my grandparent’s house. If he wanted to give me a ticket, that was fine, he didn’t have to beat me up, jump on top of me, and nearly wrench my arm off.”
Keyser-Cooper added: “It was a massive over-reaction by this officer, she weighed 115 pounds and was in a swimsuit, he weighed 190 pounds — all he had to do was talk to her.”
Kettell, a student at the University of San Francisco, was at Lake Tahoe visiting her grandparent’s for the Fourth of July celebration in 2011 when the incident occurred.
Coss admitted no liability, the law office’s press release said.