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Local News in Brief : Council Rejects Claim by Man Who Blames Police for Injuries

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday rejected the city attorney’s recommendation to pay $460,000 to a North Hollywood man who claimed that a police officer beat him outside a bar six years ago, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.

As a result, a lawsuit filed against the city by Jose Alfaro, the 31-year-old disabled man, will proceed to trial in Van Nuys Superior Court. Alfaro’s attorney said he will be seeking $4 million in damages against the city.

The Police Department has said that no evidence was found that the attack occurred. But the city attorney recommended that the lawsuit be settled after Alfaro’s attorney, Paul deMontesquiou, produced two witnesses.

“We think we have a strong case,” Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky said after the closed-door session. He and other council members declined to elaborate.

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Alfaro, according to his lawyer, walked out of a bar near Lankershim and Victory boulevards shortly after midnight on June 3, 1982, with a bottle of beer. An unidentified officer ordered him to drop the bottle, the lawyer said.

Alfaro threw the bottle down, DeMontesquiou said, and words were exchanged. The officer rushed Alfaro and applied a chokehold, a controversial restraint banned by the Police Department a month earlier, DeMontesquiou said.

“Because no officer logs, reports of radio tapes showed police presence at the location, and all officers interviewed denied any knowledge of the incident, the Police Department concluded that plaintiff’s claim was unfounded and that the incident did not occur,” said a city attorney’s report to the council.


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