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Montrose : Suit Over Arrest Is Rejected

A jury has found that six Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies did not violate the civil rights of a Montrose man jailed three years ago for resisting arrest.

The Burbank Superior Court jury last Friday rejected a $5-million civil suit filed by Thomas Alan, in which he charged civil rights violations, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“It’s nice every once in a while, despite the bad publicity the Sheriff’s Department has gotten recently, that the jury came to a decision that was well-reasoned,” said James Rosen, a private attorney hired by the county to represent the deputies.

Alan’s attorney, Michael J. Schiff, was not happy.

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“Obviously, I think Tom’s civil rights had been violated,” he said. “I thought the evidence was strong enough to prove it. But obviously, the jury felt otherwise.

Rosen said that before the trial, Superior Court Commissioner Milton L. Most agreed to a defense motion to bar any references to Rodney G. King, the Altadena motorist whose videotaped beating by Los Angeles police officers set off a public outcry for changes in the Los Angeles Police Department.

Alan’s civil suit stemmed from an October, 1988, incident in which deputies investigated a report of a man with a gun on a Montrose street. Rosen said the deputies stopped Alan because he matched the man’s description. A scuffle ensued, and Alan was arrested. No gun was found.

Alan pleaded no contest to resisting arrest and was placed on probation, Schiff said.

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