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Local News in Brief : Family Gets $90,000 in Suit Against Police

A jury Monday awarded seven members of an East Los Angeles family more than $90,000 for damages they received in 1986 when a team of Los Angeles police officers stormed their house and roughed them up while searching for a murder weapon.

The six-man Los Angeles federal court jury deliberated 5 1/2 hours before finding against the six raiding officers from the Police Department’s anti-gang unit, Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums.

“This verdict says . . . that in the name of eliminating gang activity, the Police Department itself cannot become a gang and terrorize innocent citizens,” said attorney Stephen Yagman, who represented Jessie Lorez, his wife and five children.

A police spokesman said he was unaware of the verdict and declined comment. According to trial testimony, the officers, armed with a search warrant, carried out the raid on Lorez’s house on June 13, 1986, after learning that one of his sons might have been involved in a gang-related slaying and was possibly keeping the murder weapon.

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The officers--William Holcomb, Dennis Keller, Dennis Fanning, John Seaquist, Edward Ortiz and Rudolph Navarro Jr.--were cleared of any wrongdoing by investigators from the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division.


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