Fashion designer, model files $4M federal civil rights lawsuit against Las Vegas police

LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles fashion designer and model filed a $4 million federal civil rights lawsuit against the Las Vegas Police Department and one of its officers for excessive force.

Ariana Mason, 21, said she suffered two broken teeth and needed several surgeries on her face, which resulted in scarring.

In August last year, video was captured of fights that broke out outside of the 1 OAK Nightclub at the Mirage Hotel and Casino.

The video shows a Las Vegas Metro police officer grabbing Mason from behind and taking her down to the ground. She is pulled away from a security guard she was trying to get away from her friend.

At one point, Mason starts throwing punches at the officer, who ends up fighting back. She is brought down to the ground again and handcuffed. Later in the video, she is seen being pressed up against a marble table. Her head hit the table so hard she needed 26 stitches.

"It felt like my life was in danger," she said. "It was absolutely unnecessary. I was already in the custody of police. I was already arrested."

Mason was initially charged for battery of an officer, but the charges were later dropped by prosecutors.

She is now getting guidance from family friend Rolanda Watts, who is a longtime talk show host and journalist. She said the lawsuit represents a larger problem with police.

"It's not just the black guys from the ghetto with their pants slung down anymore. It's anybody. It could be your daughter. It's not about race, it's about power," Watts said.

The Las Vegas police department does not comment on pending litigation.
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