By CHASE WRIGHT
Stamford Times and Norwalk Hour
Posted on line 07/12/2011 and in print on 7/13/2011
STAMFORD-- A Bridgeport attorney representing two Norwalk couples filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the City of Stamford and the Stamford Police Department claiming his clients were brutalized by a rogue officer in June 2009.
Attorney Antonio Ponvert III, of Koskoff, Koskoff &Bieder, said he is seeking "millions"in damages for the owners of The Palms Nightclub on West Park Place.
Brenda Mazariegos, a co-owner of the club, was attempting to pull into the parking lot of The Palms during an Alive@Five concert two years ago when she was stopped by Officer Greg Zach.
The lawsuit claims Zach ordered Mazariegos out of the car, repeatedly punched her in the face with a closed fist, then locked her in the back of a police cruiser in sweltering heat while she bled from her injuries.
Mazariegos and her husband, Feliciano, along with Nelson Solis and his wife, Sandra, are also named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday morning at Stamford Superior Court.
"This vicious assault was perpetrated against longtime community residents, upstanding citizens, business owners in our community,"Ponvert said. "They were totally innocent people who were brutalized by a Stamford Police officer plainly untrained and unsupervised and who never should have been allowed on the force. Officer Zach should have been fired on the spot and charged with criminal assault. Instead, the department put him back on the streets, armed and in uniform, where he can assault and falsely arrest other law-abiding community residents. It's an outrage."
Zach served18 months of departmental probation for punching Mazariegos, who was charged with assault on a public safety officer, second-degree breach of peace, interfering with a police officer and operating a motor vehicle without a license.
Those charges were nolled in April 2011.
Michael Larobina, the attorney representing the City of Stamford, did not immediately return a call Tuesday seeking comment. Messages were also left with Stamford Police Chief Robert Nivakoff.