Incident at Winchester restaurant leads to charges for one man, criticism for WPD over arrest

Published 2:30 pm Monday, August 28, 2023

Last Sunday, an incident at a Winchester restaurant led to charges filed against one man and criticism directed at the Winchester Police Department for how its officers handled the arrest.

Forty-year-old Lucio Valquez faces one count of 2nd-degree disorderly conduct, one count of menacing, one count of resisting arrest and a count of public intoxication under a controlled substance.

The incident happened early in the evening and has three citations filed.

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Valquez allegedly entered Cilantro’s on Bypass Rd. and began “throwing punches at a worker, striking him as well as shoving him.” After Valquez reportedly assaulted a second worker, multiple restaurant employees tried to escort him out of the building, according to the citation filed by Detective Sgt. Matt Reed.

The citation filed by Officer Jacob Reffitt states that police were called, and upon arrival at the scene, Valquez “began walking towards Sgt Larrett’s patrol vehicle.”

Valquez allegedly aggressively walked toward Larrett and screamed, “I am God.”

Reffitt’s citation states that Larrett ordered Valquez to stop, which Valquez ignored. Valquez continued toward Larrett “before taser was deployed” and fell. The officers then went to handcuff Valquez, who allegedly continued “yelling for officers to get off of him as well as continued to push officers away from him.”

While Valquez reportedly continued to struggle while the officers attempted to handcuff him, he was “tased multiple times .” During the struggle, “one of the taser probes lost contact with Valquez and became ineffective,” according to Reffitt’s citation. At this time, the officers had to use close fist strikes to put Valquez into custody. The citation further states that Valquez was “sweating profusely,” had “dilated pupils,” and appeared to be “intoxicated on controlled substances.”

Sgt. Jon Larrett’s citation states that when he arrived at Cilantro’s, Valquez started yelling for someone named Victor. He reported that Valquez was walking toward him aggressively and that he drew his taser and commanded Valquez to stop. Valquez briefly complied, and Larrett asked who Victor was, to which Valquez responded that “he was god” and then started toward Larret again.

Larret’s citation states that he then deployed his taser, which caused Valquez to fall to the ground. When other officers arrived, they tried to secure Valquez in handcuffs. Larret tried to secure Valquez’s feet and was allegedly kicked by Valquez.

However, the police’s response to the incident was called into question when the video of Valquez’s arrest was uploaded to Facebook.

An anonymous person filmed the brief clip, which shows the portion of the arrest where Valquez is struck in the face by officers.

Winchester resident Chris Gipson was forwarded the clip by the individual and was the one who posted it online.

While Gipson acknowledges that Valquez appeared intoxicated and was resisting arrest, he said he believes that police used excessive force.

Furthermore, he said this in an issue that has existed in Winchester for quite some time.

“This has been going on for a couple of years with the Winchester Police Department, and nobody has ever spoken up about it because they are afraid that they will retaliate or come after them,” Gipson said.

Gipson, who is Black, said the arrest has shaken him and others in the community.

“I’m an African-American citizen of Winchester. That puts fear in me, my family, my little cousins, and my stepkids because anything can happen,” he said.

A request for comment sent via email to Winchester Police Chief James Hall went unreturned as of press time Monday.

But, in an interview with Lexington television station FOX 56, Hall said he believes the officers acted appropriately and that the video did not show the entire incident.

“The entire incident, from officer arrival until Mr. Valquez was placed in a police vehicle, took four minutes and 52 seconds. The entire encounter was recorded on body cam for evidentiary use in court and shows the actions of Mr. Valquez that were not shown on the 15-second Facebook video,” Hall said.

Valquez remains lodged at the Clark County Detention Center on a $3,500 cash bond.