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Lawsuit filed for Busby fundraiser incident

Three women who hosted a fundraiser for congressional candidate Francine Busby that ended in a scuffle with law enforcement were reported Wednesday to have filed a lawsuit claiming their civil rights were violated by a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court by Shari Barman, Jane Stratton and Pamela Morgan, names both the county and Deputy Marshall Abbott as defendants, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The scuffle occurred on the evening of June 26 at Barman and Stratton’s home in Cardiff, where about 50 people were gathered.

While responding to a neighbor’s noise complaint, Abbott grabbed Barman, 60, by the arm after she allegedly refused to cooperate and attempted to walk away from him. He then used pepper spray on her before arresting both her and Morgan, 62.

Abbott was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in August after an investigation by the office of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. Criminal charges were also not filed against any of the women.

On Tuesday, Barman told the Union-Tribune that Abbott’s actions caused permanent damage to her shoulder and has made her nervous around law enforcement. The plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages, as well as reforms at the county’s sheriff’s department.

“We want to find out why this happened: Is it a problem of improper training? Is it a problem with this deputy?” their attorney, Michael Marrinan, told the Union-Tribune.

Busby, who faces off against Tracy Emblem in the June primary election, was not involved in the scuffle. She told the Union-Tribune that “there are definite questions” about whether civil rights were violated.

Busby is running for the Democratic nomination for the 50th congressional district seat held by Republican Brian Bilbray.