Human trafficker sues three local agencies over civil rights violations

January 19, 2018 GMT

A Las Vegas man convicted of human trafficking in Sutter County has filed a federal lawsuit against three local agencies.

Gregory W. Walton II, 31, pleaded no contest to human trafficking in Sutter County Superior Court last year and was sentenced to three years of formal probation. He had spent more than a year in Sutter County Jail for the charge while going through the court process.

In his lawsuit filed last Friday, Walton alleges that the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office, the Yuba City Police Department, the Sutter County Public Defender’s Office and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department violated his civil rights.

Walton is seeking $3 million in damages for the “outrageous” civil rights violations performed by government officials.

Walton claims that the District Attorney’s Office failed to correct false testimony of a lead Yuba City detective under oath, “to further fabricate charges that also resulted in violations of my constitutional rights as a parent/father.”

He claims the office also used illegally gained evidence that was obtained with a search warrant on his Las Vegas address – out of the county and state’s jurisdiction.

Walton’s complaint against the Yuba City Police Department is that a former officer used excessive force against him during an arrest on May 10, 2016, causing injury to his left knee, as well as denying him film from the officer’s body camera.

Walton also claimed that a Yuba City detective obtained an illegal search warrant of his Las Vegas residence, allowing his home to be burglarized by his ex-girlfriend, who he claims was not on the lease.

Yuba City Police Lt. Jim Runyen said the department does not comment on pending litigation. The Sutter County District Attorney and the Sutter County Public Defender’s Office did not respond to requests for comment.

He claims that Las Vegas police had no authority to allow a search to Yuba City police and district attorney investigators, and abused power and overstepped their jurisdiction.

Walton claims that the public defender repeatedly provided ineffective counsel, which caused him to remain in custody, the loss of property, damages, and loss of contact with his son.

“They should be taught a lesson to never violate another American this way,” according to Walton’s lawsuit. “My life is changed forever. I am scared mentally, injured physically, and I am still searching for my son who was illegally taken from me.”

Officers came into contact with Walton and the alleged victim when they responded to Feather Down Shopping Center on Stabler Lane in May 2016 in response to two calls.

A woman called to report she was hiding in the bushes from a man who threatened to kill her. A man had also called to report a possible kidnapping, according to Appeal-Democrat archives.

A man who matched a description given to officers resisted their orders and was detained.

They learned he was with the mother of the woman hiding in the bushes, and that he and the mother were in a physical altercation when he took her phone and called police.

During further investigation, the woman in the bushes and her mother both told officers that Walton had coerced the younger woman into prostitution, according to archives.