$15-Million Stanton Suit Accuses Police Chief, 2 Officers of Brutality


A man who claims two Stanton police officers beat him up and broke his elbow filed a $15-million federal civil rights lawsuit Monday against Stanton, its Police Department, the police chief and two officers.

Juan Manuel Cornejo, a resident of the Moreno Valley, said he was visiting relatives in Stanton on Oct. 12, 1986, when two officers entered the home, beat him as his family watched and dragged him out to a waiting police car.

Cornejo’s attorney, H. Gene Collins, said he doesn’t know why the officers arrested his client. Earlier this month, Collins said, an Orange County Municipal judge dismissed charges that Cornejo had assaulted the police officers. Collins said Cornejo works as a laborer.


On Jan. 13, the city rejected Cornejo’s claim for damages, the lawsuit said. The suit alleges that the officers’ actions were “motivated by unlawful racial considerations” and that the officers had been the subject of “complaints from Hispanics.”

Stanton Police Capt. Julio Mendez said he was not familiar with Cornejo’s arrest and could not comment on the lawsuit. He said the two officers named in the lawsuit still are employed by the department, and he was not aware of any complaints that had been filed against them.