LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An 18-year-old woman who says she was “manhandled” by an LAPD sergeant after being asked to take her feet down on a Metro train has filed a lawsuit, her attorney announced Monday.

Bethany Nava told reporters at a news conference with attorney Michael Carrillo that a legal claim was filed against the city on Friday, seeking unspecified damages. The claim is a precursor to a lawsuit.

“I’m a young girl,” said Nava. “I’ve always looked to the police as my protectors, as somebody who could keep me safe. Now I can say that I’m deeply afraid of him. I’m afraid to get on the Metro because I might see him and I don’t know what he’ll do to me if he sees me again.”

Police later told CBS2 that Nava, who was cited and later released, was being loud and boisterous on the train and had violated the disorderly conduct code under Metro rules.

Carrillo says Nava will ultimately “be proven innocent of this bogus infraction for which she has been cited”.

The incident occurred around 3 p.m. on Jan. 22 on the Metro Red Line when Nava was seen on video being asked by the officer to stand up from her seat.

When she refused, the unidentified officer was seen forcibly removing the 18-year-old Nava from her seat and taking her by her arm off the train.

metro train lawsuit

Bethany Nava with her attorney during Monday’s news conference.

“I am extremely disappointed, our riders deserve better,” Metro CEO Phil Washington said in a statement. “We want the Metro system to be a safe environment for everyone. I expect more from our law enforcement partners. This incident is still under investigation, but I want to be clear: this is not the kind of policing I want on our system.”

Mayor Garcetti also commented on the situation, saying body cameras on the officers will help shed more light on the incident.

“My expectation of the MTA….. is that there will be courtesy from everyone. I expect that from the individuals who ride – I expect that from law enforcement,” Garcetti said. “I know MTA and LAPD has launched an investigation. I also know that videos sometimes tell one picture. We’ll have the videos that officers have – as well as the videos that were made.”

Comments (7)
  1. Today, I watched a news story about a teen Metro rider who was told to take her foot off a seat on the train. The problem I have with the reporting of the incident, is that it gives too much attention to the teen, and not enough balance to the possible real reason she should not have her feet on the seat. One hundred years ago, our nation was ravaged by a big epidemic called the “Spanish Flu” which was killing tens of thousands of people monthly and their was no cure insight. Only practical, logical health practices and “Enforcement” help stop greater casualties in this Country. Common sense will tell you that the underside of your shoes, walking though the city, is not something you would put up on your couch, so why would you put it up on a seat shared by many. There is currently a sever Flu Stain, that has killed more people than usual this year, and as a courtesy, we should use more common sense to reduce the spread of all germs. A more balanced story would have spent less time on the defense of the teen, and more concern about the Law Enforcement Officer’s action to help prevent the spread of disease or flu this season. The biggest problem I have with this story is that the teen and her lawyer are deflecting from her bad behavior and turning into racist lawsuit. Responsible reporting would state the obvious. The initial action of the transportation officer was strictly trying to protect everybody from the flu, and was probably briefed to do so. Let’s tell the whole story and not enable people’s bad behavior. The biggest injustice here, would be for a teen to behave badly, sue the police, which is suing us, and walk away with a Million or two. And all because the officer was trying to protect us.

  2. Fred Rinaldi says:


  3. Oh stop. “I’m a young girl”, tomorrow you’ll be talking about “I’m an adult”. “I’ve always looked to the Police as my protectors, as someone who could keep me safe. Now I can say I’m deeply afraid of him”. Oh please. You certainly weren’t afraid at the time and I don’t believe your actions reflect your respect of Police as someone who would keep you safe. If you don’t follow the rules, if an officer tells you to vacate the premises, then do it. If you don’t, you’re subject to forcible removal. This was such a minor incident that could have been averted had you simply put your foot down. Now, instead, you want money. Really? Shocking.

  4. This girl’s behavior is despicable. I would be so ashamed if my child behaved like this individual.
    To defend her behavior only encourages other disrespectful Metro riders to disobey the rules and lack manners and authority. If I were to ride on the Metro, I certainly would not want some ones dirty shoes on my seat. What kind of parents raised these kids to behave like this? It’s these kind of people that make you want to avoid the Metro and move out of Los Angeles. It’s doesn’t have anything do with race, it’s a matter if being civil in a civilized society. It appears we don’t have a civilized society.

  5. Mike Bors says:

    Do what your told by a police officer and don’t resist him and you won’t be “manhandled” spoiled little brat!

  6. She is not a young girl. She is 18, you become an adult at age 18. If you hadn’t acted like a spoiled little child and obeyed the rules you wouldn’t have had any problems. You are a self-entitled brat!!

  7. I like how they he said she was an aspiring actress, no kidding. I was a teen and young adult and a trouble maker with attitude. I did however listen to authority even though at the time I didn’t like it. The girl was wrong, then she yelled at the cop ( she’s lucky he handled that nicely ) and saw nothing wrong with her behavior.

    She was wrong, the cop was right AND she was just going to get a simple ticket. It would have been thrown out in court. This is proof 100% that today’s youth have zero respect for anything. He was trying to teach her something and very calm, she was a brat and over 18 (oh my , guess what? You’re an ADULT!!)

    Cops in LA can be out of line, this wasn’t one of those times.

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