Cop lawsuits

City of Chico sued in connection with police actions

The city of Chico is facing two lawsuits filed in federal court involving the Chico Police Department.

Former Police Sgt. Dan Fonseca claims he was terminated in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The suit says Fonseca, who joined the department in 1985, suffered from the disability of alcoholism, of which he informed the city on May 14, 2012. The city did not properly respond, the suit says. He was fired six months later after an off-duty auto accident.

A separate lawsuit filed by Joseph DeVincenzi, who was arrested in 2009 on an alcohol-related charge, claims that during transport to the police station, DeVincenzi attempted to light a cigarette with a lighter and “either accidentally set his clothing on fire or actually attempted suicide by fire.” He suffered third-degree burns to 32 percent of his body. The suit says the responding officers knew the plaintiff had a history of mental illness and failed to locate his lighter during the arrest.