A Pasadena police officer told a jury Thursday that he drew his weapon on a security systems salesman while off-duty in 2015 when the man entered his Santa Clarita home through the front door after ignoring repeated requests that he leave the property.
Testifying on his own behalf in Los Angeles Superior Court in trial of plaintiff Omar Segura’s civil rights suit, Officer Sam Priyamal De Sylva said he was concerned for the safety of his wife and two children in his home.
“All I remember is that Mr. Segura was right on me,” De Sylva said.
He said Segura told him he worked for the FBI.
De Sylva’s testimony contradicted the account given Wednesday by Segura when the 37-year-old Stevenson Ranch resident said he only put one hand past the threshold of the front door while demanding that the officer return his state-issued permit allowing him to work in a sales capacity. Segura said De Sylva snatched the permit out of his hand when he tried to show it to the officer, an allegation De Sylva denied Thursday.
Segura, who is black, alleges the actions of De Sylva, a Sri Lankan native, may have been racially motivated. De Sylva scoffed at the allegation, saying he has about 20 black friends, including two fellow officers on the Pasadena Police Department scheduled to testify on his behalf.
Segura told jurors Wednesday that he went to the officer’s home about 5:45 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2015. The officer told Segura, “Nobody wants you here,” according to the suit Segura filed in July 2015. De Sylva, who initially took the stand on Monday, denied making the statement then and again Thursday.
Segura said he told De Sylva as he was leaving that he had state-issued documentation allowing him to sell the alarm systems.
“I have a permit, I can do this in the city,” Segura said he told De Sylva.
Segura said he walked up to the door of the De Sylva home after the officer asked to see the permit.
“He snatches it out of my hand,” Segura said.
But when asked by his lawyer, Thomas Shaver, if he took Segura’s permit, the officer replied, “No, I did not.”
De Sylva said the permit “looked like the receipt from a grocery store” and that he told Segura to leave his property.
De Sylva said that he reached for his gun from his waistband and aimed it toward Segura’s upper body when the salesman entered his home so that the plaintiff could not easily use his hands to knock it from the officer’s grasp.
“He just stood there staring at me,” De Sylva said. “It seemed forever.”
Segura later walked outside, De Sylva said.
“I just started yelling at him to get down on the ground,” De Sylva said. “He eventually complied.”
Segura testified he did not know De Sylva was a police officer until he heard him talking to sheriff’s deputies during a 911 call. Segura said he was handcuffed and arrested by deputies, but not charged with any crime.