- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Sandoval County Sheriff’s deputies roughed up a Rio Rancho woman and falsely arrested her for child abuse, a new federal lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit recently filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, deputies entered Kari Mantilla’s Rio Rancho home without a warrant in April 2013 and arrested her for child abuse after concluding her house was a mess. Attorneys for Mantilla said in court documents that deputies were there to serve an order to appear for domestic violence.

The lawsuit alleged that a deputy slammed Mantilla onto the pavement, causing her to suffer head injuries. The “defendants’ force used against (Mantilla) was unnecessary and unreasonable,” the lawsuit said. The deputies also lacked probable cause to “arrest, tackle and handcuff” Mantilla, the lawsuit said.

Prosecutors later dropped the child abuse charge against Mantilla, now 42.

A lawyer for the county denied the allegations and is seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed. In court documents, attorney Agnes Fuentevilla Padilla called the allegations “frivolous, unreasonable groundless and harassing.”

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount for damages and attorney’s fees.

This is the second federal lawsuit filed this month against Sandoval County.

A lawsuit filed earlier this month says solitary confinement conditions in one New Mexico county were so inhumane that they drove a woman arrested and charged with domestic battery to commit suicide.

According to that lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, Sandoval County authorities kept Raynbow Gignilliat, 39, of Atlanta, in solitary confinement for weeks without proper treatment for her bipolar disorder following her October 2013 arrest.

Authorities kept her isolated even after witnessing signs that she needed treatment, including “stripping naked, smearing feces and urine on herself and her solitary cell, hallucinating and screaming for hours during the day and night,” court documents said.

The county declined to comment on that case.

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Follow Russell Contreras at https://twitter.com/russcontreras

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