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Local basketball star sues Roy police for injuries she says ended her career

Timberline’s Sasha Weber waits to be introduced before a basketball game at Timberline High School in Lacey on Friday, Dec. 17, 2010. Weber recently sued the City of Roy, alleging its police chief injured her during a traffic stop.
Timberline’s Sasha Weber waits to be introduced before a basketball game at Timberline High School in Lacey on Friday, Dec. 17, 2010. Weber recently sued the City of Roy, alleging its police chief injured her during a traffic stop. toverman@theolympian.com

A local basketball star has sued the city of Roy, alleging injuries she suffered during a police stop ended her career as a basketball player.

Sasha Weber, who turns 25 this month, played at Timberline High School and New Mexico State University, then professionally overseas.

Weber’s lawsuit says Roy Police Chief Darwin Armitage’s physical force caused her permanent injury during a traffic stop Sept. 1, 2017, and that his “conduct was motivated by racial animus.”

An attorney representing the city and Armitage declined to comment, and Armitage did not respond to a News Tribune message.

Weber’s attorneys said she was stopped for speeding on her way home from training. She was living in the Spanaway area at the time.

As a result of the stop, Weber was issued a civil infraction that had to do with her license, her attorneys said.

“My understanding is that she failed to renew it,” one of her attorneys, Vonda Sargent told The News Tribune. “It definitely was not a criminal charge.”

Weber’s lawsuit was filed Jan. 14 in Pierce County Superior Court. It seeks unspecified damages.

The lawsuit gives this account:

An officer stopped Weber’s vehicle in the 200 block of McNaught Street in Roy.

The officer checked Weber’s license and indicated that it had been suspended. Then she radioed that she’d detained Weber.

The officer’s husband, Armitage, then responded to help.

The husband and wife are Caucasian. Weber is African American.

“Chief Armitage handcuffed Ms. Weber’s left wrist and began pulling her right wrist, inflicting injury to Ms. Weber, while one of her wrists was already in handcuffs and both hands gripped behind her back,” the complaint reads. “Chief Armitage physically forced Ms. Weber’s right wrist in the handcuffs.”

Nothing about Weber’s “appearance, behavior or demeanor” suggested that she needed “excessively forceful treatment,” the lawsuit says.

Armitage then dragged Weber to the patrol vehicle, despite Weber’s complaints that it was injuring her ankle.

“Chief Armitage continued to drag Ms. Weber on the uneven surface not allowing her to gain her footing on three separate occasions while forcing her toward the patrol car,” the complaint says.

Weber alleges that she did not resist and that the chief repeatedly called her a criminal and did not address her by name.

She says she repeatedly told him that he’d injured her ankle.

“Ms. Weber’s basketball career prematurely ended as a result of the injuries inflicted on her while she was in the custody of the City of Roy,” the lawsuit says.

All criminal charges against Weber were dismissed, and there was no probable cause for her arrest and detainment, she argues.

She alleges that the chief’s conduct violated her rights to be free of unreasonable seizure and excessive force, and to be free of race discrimination.

“It shouldn’t have happened,” said attorney Susan Mindenbergs, who also represents Weber.

Weber now works in operations for the Golden State Warriors in California but is not able to pursue her own career playing basketball, her attorneys said.

Weber was The Olympian’s All-Area player of the year in 2012. She led Timberline to a 3A Narrows League title her junior year.

As a senior at NMSU, she was the Washington Athletic Conference tournament MVP. The team went to the NCAA tournament her junior and senior years, for the first time since 1988. Weber shot 41.1 percent from 3-point range as a senior.

She signed a contract at the end of 2016 to play professionally for Eisvogel USC Freiburg in Germany. The season went from January to April 2017.

Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering courts in 2016. Before that she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as The News Tribune’s night reporter.


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