Man Jailed on Accusations of Domestic Abuse Sues Irvine
September 11, 2012
IRVINE – An Irvine man who spent a night in jail after being accused of domestic violence by a woman who was later charged with numerous counts of burglary, kidnapping and false arrest is suing the city of Irvine for $150,000.
The plaintiff, businessman Deukman Lee, alleges that Irvine police officer Joseph Jun did not follow proper law-enforcement protocol and failed to take reasonable, available steps to check the credibility of the accuser. The city denies the allegations.
The woman, Sunmee Kim, gave Jun a false name and didn’t show identification at the scene of the Dec. 13 incident on Stanford Avenue, according to both the lawsuit and Irvine police. When asked for identification, she said the plaintiff had taken and hidden her purse.
Kim, 39, told Jun that she and the plaintiff were engaged to be married, that she had lived in his home for a month, that she was pregnant and that he had hit her 10 times with a wooden practice sword, the lawsuit says.
Lee, 45, insisted that all of those statements were false – which Lee’s neighbors corroborated – and he repeatedly asked Jun to verify the woman’s identity before arresting him, the lawsuit says.
The woman displayed injuries consistent with domestic violence, but which Irvine police now say were self-inflicted.
An emergency protective order was issued, banning Lee from being within 100 yards of his home on Stanford Avenue in Irvine. He was taken to Orange County Jail, where he remained until posting $5,000 bail the next day. While he was incarcerated, Lee’s home was burglarized of cash, belongings and personal information. Kim is now facing four burglary charges.
Irvine police later grew suspicious of Kim for not producing identification and ran her fingerprints through a law-enforcement database, which revealed that she was not the person she said she was and had outstanding arrest warrants in other, similar cases.
A subsequent investigation revealed “a long, complex pattern” of false reports, extortion, fraud, false identities and identity theft in Orange and Los Angeles counties, Irvine police spokeswoman Lt. Julia Engen said when the woman was arrested.
Kim was arrested a week after the Irvine incident in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has charged her with nine counts of false imprisonment, eight counts of kidnapping, four counts of burglary and two counts of grand theft going back to 2010.
The defendant targeted Korean businessmen on dating site KoreanCupid.com, quickly establishing a relationship and then taking their money, authorities say. She would then force a confrontation to get them arrested and steal their possessions while they were in custody, authorities say.
The lawsuit says Lee suffered emotional distress, suffering, anguish, fright, horror, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, shock, humiliation, insomnia and shame, all of which also negatively affected his ability to run his business.
Engen declined to comment on the pending litigation, citing department policy. But attorneys representing the city have filed court papers denying Lee’s allegations, alleging that Lee caused the circumstances leading to his false arrest and arguing that the city and police department are not liable in these types of cases. A trial date for the lawsuit has not been set.
Kim remains in custody at Orange County Central Women’s Jail, with no bail offered. A pretrial hearing is Sept. 28.