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New Trial Sought for 2 Officers in Rights Case

The city of Torrance has filed a motion asking a federal judge to grant a new trial for two police officers who were convicted of violating the civil rights of three students driving through the city.

A hearing on the motion charging jury misconduct has been scheduled for July 21 in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Spencer Letts.

Torrance Police Officers Albert Kramer and Stephen D’Anjou stopped a car carrying three students in 1994. The students said they were detained only because two of them are African Americans. A third is white. The officers ordered the teenagers out of the car, patted them down and spent nearly one hour searching the car.

The officers were convicted two weeks ago and the students were awarded $245,000 in punitive damages.

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In a motion filed this week, Torrance officials are asking for a new trial because of several incidents involving jurors. Lawyers for the city contend that one juror began polling the jury before the trial ended. The city also contends that one juror disclosed to another that he believed the testimony of Daniel Mason, one of the plaintiffs, and did not believe the police, even though they had not testified yet. Another juror, John Wilhite, did not tell the court that his brother is a Los Angeles police officer and that he had been on a ride-along where he saw police misconduct during a traffic stop, the city says.


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