FLORENCE — A Queen Creek couple is accusing the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office of negligence and excessive force after deputies mistakenly arrested them during a road rage incident last year.
On the night of Jan. 6, 2018, Dennis Ashcraft and his wife called 911 after a motorist allegedly rammed into the back of their pickup truck in San Tan Valley.
According to a lawsuit filed by the Ashcrafts last week in Superior Court, a police dispatcher erroneously told deputies the suspect was driving a vehicle matching the victims’ truck.
Deputies received multiple different vehicle descriptions while they were responding to the scene, according to PCSO reports, and stopped the truck driven by Ashcraft.
Deputies ordered the couple out of the car, searched them and placed them in handcuffs. They eventually learned the Ashcrafts had actually been the reporting party and released the couple from custody.
A few hours before the incident, camera crews with the television show “Live PD” were following at least one of the deputies who later responded to the Ashcraft situation.
“Live PD” is a reality television show that has camera crews capture police officers on patrol and broadcast the footage in real time.
PCSO was posting tweets on the night of Jan. 6, documenting the events being broadcast on national television. One of those tweets promoted a PCSO deputy discovering drug paraphernalia at about 7:30 p.m. Three hours later, police reports show that same deputy was at the scene of the Ashcraft incident.
PinalCentral reviewed the show’s episode from Jan. 6 and did not see anything resembling the Ashcraft incident that was recorded or broadcast. The Ashcraft lawsuit also makes no mention of “Live PD.”
The Ashcrafts accuse deputies of using “unreasonable force” and causing “great physical pain” when they were being detained, their lawsuit states. The civil complaint does not specify how much in damages the plaintiffs are seeking.
PinalCentral reached out to the plaintiffs’ lawyer but received no comment Tuesday.
According to police reports, deputies described the Ashcrafts as being “argumentative” and non-compliant with their demands during the incident. One deputy warned the couple they could be bitten by a police dog if they did not comply. The couple was “irate and verbally abusive” to deputies after being released from custody, a police report states.
Deputies further noted in their reports it was unclear whether the victims, who they thought were suspects, were armed with a gun.
Pinal County did not immediately respond to an inquiry regarding the lawsuit, but public officials traditionally do not comment on pending litigation.