Zapata Co. man sues Sheriff's Officer after his leg had to be amputated in an excessive force arrest

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Zapata County resident has filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office and four deputies for the alleged use of excessive force that resulted in the amputation of his leg.

The incident happened during the early morning hours of Feb. 26, 2022, when Rigoberto Barrientos was arguing with his then girlfriend, which escalated in her calling the authorities.

According to the lawsuit, deputies with the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the home to assess the situation and found no signs of forced entry or physical harm.

The lawsuit alleges that during questioning, there was a heated exchange between one of the deputies and Mr. Barrientos when they offered to give him a ride to stay at a family member’s house, since the house belonged to his girlfriend, but Barrientos refused resulting in what his attorney is claiming was a violent arrest.

Barrientos’ attorney Kevin Green alleges that the deputies used a very dangerous takedown maneuver.

“His leg bent backwards in the opposite direction that your knee is supposed to bend, so forcefully, that his leg, you can hear it on the video, it makes a horrible crunching popping sound, and it just splits the leg all the way off, except for just a little tissue in the front,” said Barrientos. “The deputies had to apply two tourniquets to save his life because, quite literally, Mr. Barrientos was bleeding to death.”

Green also alleges that the sheriff’s deputy falsified the police report saying that Mr. Barrientos attempted to start a fight with the authorities.

Barrientos is seeking roughly half a million dollars for his medical expenses, and his attorney is also asking to take this case to trial.

KGNS reached out to the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office several times, and so far, we have not received a response.

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