Gallegos v. Economidy, No. 11-2112 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Pro se prisoner Plaintiff-Appellant Aggie Joe Gallegos appealed the dismissal of his civil rights action brought against various Albuquerque police officers and other officials in connection with his 2007 arrest. Plaintiff was riding his bicycle in Albuquerque when he rode past a stop sign without stopping. Albuquerque police officer Defendant Byron Economidy was on patrol and, upon observing Plaintiff, he engaged his emergency lights in an attempt to stop Plaintiff. Plaintiff got off his bicycle and talked to Officer Economidy. But talks broke down and a chase ensued. Plaintiff abadoned the bicycle, and while running away from the officer, he threw things out of his pockets and ignored commands to stop running. Other police officers began arriving on the scene to assist. Officer Economidy and Plaintiff got into a physical altercation which ended with Plaintiff getting "tased" in the back. Plaintiff disputed the officer's account of the arrest, and brought this civil rights suit against the five officers involved in his arrest, in addition to the police chief, the mayor and the City of Albuquerque itself. Plaintiff argued that the officers used excessive force amounting to physical and psychological torture, and the City was vicariously liable for its officers' actions. The district court dismissed his case. On appeal to the Tenth Circuit, Plaintiff argued that he was restrained in shackles in front of the jury, thereby causing him prejudice and rendering his trial fundamentally unfair. Finding no evidence that the trial court permitted Plaintiff to be in shackles in front of the jury, or that the trial court abused its discretion in the conduct of trial, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment.