The fresh start Cornelius police are hoping for Sept. 1 will be mixed with some old baggage Sept. 2.

After training for two months to become Washington County Sheriff’s deputies, eight of the 12 former Cornelius officers will begin exploring various county beats Sept. 1 while four return to the Cornelius Police Department, which has been run by the sheriff since a merger between the two departments July 1. The returning officers will replace four of the deputies who have been filling in at CPD during the training period.

One of those returning officers, Miguel Monico, will head to the federal courthouse in downtown Portland Tuesday, Sept. 2, to face a lawsuit related to a 2010 house search, in which Monico allegedly reported that a Spanish-speaking Cornelius man, Diego Mata-Gonzalez, said a white powder in his dresser drawer was cocaine.

Mata-Gonzalez himself claims he told Monico — the city’s only Spanish-speaking patrol officer at the time — the powder was made from cascarilla, a cleansing herb. State lab tests proved the substance was harmless.

Mata-Gonzalez, who was arrested and who was barred from seeing his children for more than two months as a result of Monico’s report, filed a lawsuit against both Monico and the city of Cornelius for malicious prosecution and deprivation of substantive due process.

Jury selection is set to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, in U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman’s courtroom at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, 1000 S.W. Third Ave. in Portland. Following jury selection, the trial will begin immediately, likely around 10:30 a.m., according to Courtroom Deputy Dawn Stephens.

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