Civil rights suit filed against police, sheriff

Civil rights suit filed against police, sheriff

Aman who pleaded guilty to participating in a home-invasion robbery in 2012 has filed a federal lawsuit alleging his civil rights were violated during his arrest.

Michael Anthony Lujan, 42, is representing himself in a case filed in Medford's U.S. District Court against Medford police Chief Tim George, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters and about a dozen officers and deputies.

Lujan's suit alleges the officers performed an illegal search and seizure and participated in racial discrimination. He is seeking $750,000 for alleged violations of his 4th and 14th amendment rights.

Lujan is suing Winters and jail officials in a separate $4,000 claim, alleging officials failed to forward information to his public defender after his arrest and denied him the level of medical care he requested during his five-month incarceration.

Lujan was arrested by Medford officers inside a home on Sharon Way in White City in May 2012. Lujan and two accomplices had allegedly held the resident of a Beatty Street apartment at gunpoint on April 13, 2012, while they robbed him of electronics.

The victim told police the trio broke into his apartment armed with handguns and stole several household appliances, including stereo equipment and gaming consoles. They also poured bleach on furniture in the home, destroying a couch and carpeting. Police said the robbery appeared to be over debts owed to one of the suspects and was possibly drug-related. The victim was not hurt during the robbery.

Lujan was initially charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery and first-degree theft and held in the Jackson County Jail on $2 million bail. On Nov. 27, 2012, Lujan pleaded guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court before Judge Benjamin Bloom to first-degree burglary and second-degree robbery. He was sentenced to five months in jail and three years post-prison supervision.

Jackson County prosecutor Ginger Greer said the victim was "unavailable to testify at the time of trial."

Lujan has an extensive criminal history in the Los Angeles area and had recently been released from a California prison before the Medford robbery, police said at the time of his arrest.

Lujan's civil suit states six officers approached his rented residence and knocked on the door. Lujan refused to answer and twice sent friends to tell officers he was not at home, he said.

"Since I abscounded (sic) from California Parole, I thought the police were here to get me," Lujan writes.

Lujan said he was on the phone with his father when he heard the door open downstairs and police calling to him that they "just want to talk."

Lujan initially did not respond. Then he changed his mind after hearing more noises downstairs, he said.

"I thought 'Gas or Gunfire' (sic) was next so I surrendered," he wrote. "They had no warrant or consent to enter and question me. Three times I sent an agent to tell the defendants 'No'."

Lujan also claimed he was subjected to racial discrimination, writing that the police approached his residence and stated "we observed 4-5 Hispanics on the balcony."

When contacted by the Mail Tribune Tuesday, Medford police Chief Tim George said he could not comment on pending litigation. Sheriff Mike Winters did not immediately return phone calls.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or

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