Huntington Beach OKs Arrest Case Settlement

Times Staff Writer

Huntington Beach has agreed to pay its third of a $225,000 settlement offered to a Marin County man who was mistakenly arrested on suspicion of attempted murder because his name was nearly identical to that of the actual suspect, city officials said Thursday.

The city has agreed to pay $75,000 to Fred Martin Simons, owner of several clothing stores in Marin County, a deputy city attorney for Huntington Beach said. But final settlement is dependent on the agreement by two other parties sued by Simons over the incident.

Simons was arrested at his Greenbrae home in April, 1986, by police who mistakenly thought he was Fred Michael Simons, a Huntington Beach man wanted in connection with the attempted murder of his brother in December, 1983.

The arrest, made by the Twin Cities Police Department, which patrols Corte Madera and Larkspur, was requested by a Huntington Beach Police Department clerk, city officials said. The request was made after an Orange County sheriff's deputy checked state vehicle records and turned up a Fred M. Simons living in Greenbrae. All three towns are in Marin County north of San Francisco.

In his suit, Simons named the Twin Cities Police Department, Orange County and the City of Huntington Beach.

"We'd be happy to buy out of the case for $75,000," Huntington Beach Deputy City Atty. Bill Amsbary said. "There wasn't any question that the guy was entitled to a payment."

The county's Claims Settlement Committee will meet Jan. 20 to decide whether the county will pay its third, according to Maria Bastanchury, risk manager for the county.

Corte Madera and Larkspur also are "attempting to work out a settlement," said Corte Madera Town Clerk Chris Bell, adding: "Everything is still in a confidential state."

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