Man's suit against Glendale police officers goes to trial

John Howard

A 72-year-old Glendale man testified Wednesday that two police officers used excessive force two years ago when they handcuffed him and broke his arm inside the Glendale Galleria.

Asadoor Mirzaeyan was wearing a sling on his right arm in U.S. District Court, where his trial began against Officers Aaron Zeigler and Francisco Martinez, who he claims used excessive force and covered up accounts of the incident during his May 9, 2010, arrest.

He testified with the help of an Armenian-translation interpreter that he took prescription pills that day and walked to the mall with a friend and met another acquaintance, who shared a half-cup of liquor with him.

On his way out of the mall, Mirzaeyan said the officers, who were dressed in plain clothes and seated at a coffee shop, asked him to leave the mall numerous times but never identified themselves as officers.

During his testimony, Mirzaeyan had trouble understanding and recalling specific details about the incident, as well as his medical treatment.

But he testified that the officers pushed him against a post and twisted his arms behind his back until he fainted from the pain.

“You are not doing the right thing,” Mirzaeyan said. “That's all I wanted to say.”

Mirzaeyan woke up in the hospital with a broken arm, he testified.

Assistant City Atty. Miah Yun, who is representing the officers and the Glendale Police Department, played a surveillance video from the coffee shop, showing Mirzaeyan approaching and speaking to the seated officers. The video also shows that a friend tried to pull Mirzaeyan away from the officers several times, but he refused to leave and yanked his friend's arm away.

The officers then slowly stood up and walked over to Mirzaeyan. The video then ends, before the struggle began.

Mirzaeyan's attorney Timothy Mitchell claims Martinez “doctored the video,” according to court documents.

Mirzaeyan was arrested and charged with being drunk in public and resisting arrest, according to court documents. He pleaded no contest and had to sign an apology note, which he claims he signed because he was threatened with jail time.

“There is no question in this case the officers had the right to handcuff Mr. Mirzaeyan,” Yun said in court.

Mirzaeyan, she said in court, was drunk at the mall, prompting notice from his friend who tried to escort him out of the mall before he approached officers and tried to engage them.

The officers, Yun said, displayed their badges to Mirzaeyan, who soon began to flail his arms.

Mirzaeyan was struggling and resisting as the officers arrested him, she said. Martinez then heard a popping sound, but Mirzaeyan continued to struggle and yell, Yun said.

Two orthopedic surgeons later testified about Mirzaeyan's spiral bone fracture to his arm.

Dr. John Howard said a spiral fracture generally is the result of a forceful twisting motion.

Dr. John Shafer testified that Mirzaeyan's medical records and X-rays showed he had severe trauma to his right shoulder, arm and ribs. The trauma, he said, appeared to have occurred years before Mirzaeyan's latest fracture.

He also testified that his patients wear an arm sling for only three weeks after an injury.

Testimony is expected to continue Thursday.

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