SIMI VALLEY : Demonstrator Wins Award for Damages

A federal court jury has awarded a Simi Valley man $35,350 in damages in connection with a lawsuit he recently won against the city claiming he had been harassed by a police officer while demonstrating for a slow-growth initiative.

The jury awarded the damages to Edward Sloman during a brief hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

"I feel great," Sloman said. "It's not just a victory for me. It's a victory for the people of Simi Valley."

Bert Deixler, the attorney representing Simi Valley in the case, said the city plans to file an appeal within the next 30 days.

"This will not stand," Deixler said of the award.

Earlier this month, the same jury found that Officer Herman Hale had violated the civil rights of Sloman when he was arrested in 1986.

Hale arrested Sloman at an Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce auto show at a public park, where Sloman carried a sign in support of a slow-growth ballot measure. At the time, the chamber was supporting a less restrictive measure.

A worker at the auto show placed Sloman under citizen's arrest on suspicion of trespassing. State law requires an officer to arrest an individual who has been placed under citizen's arrest.

But Sloman contended in his lawsuit that Hale had orchestrated his arrest as a ploy to get him and his sign away from the auto show.

Sloman, 53, said he had originally asked for $40,000 in damages, but that he was not concerned with the amount of the award.

"This has never been a money issue," he said. "I'm very happy with the award. At every stage of this, I have been right and the city has been wrong."

The city has already spent more than S130,000 in attorney's fees to defend the police officer, officials said.

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