City denies police misconduct claim

A man who said a Laguna Beach police officer mistreated him will not give up his fight, even following a City Council decision against him last week.

The Laguna Beach council voted 5 to 0 on June 18 to follow a legal consultant's recommendation to deny Leonard Porto's claim of officer misconduct.

Porto said Monday that he plans to initiate a civil rights lawsuit.

"An officer slammed [my car roof] and the city is going to answer in court," Porto said.

Porto said he was sleeping in his car at 2:30 a.m. last Nov. 30 on El Paseo in Laguna when officer Mike Jeffries awoke him during a rainstorm, according to a claim filed with the city clerk May 29.

"Officer Jeffries banged on the roof of claimants' vehicle multiple times to awaken claimant [Porto]," the document said. "Disabled claimant suffered severe emotional and physical trauma of being awakened violently by strangers."

Police also issued Porto, who was homeless at the time, a $43 citation for violating the city's municipal code, which prohibits a person from parking a car on any public street, beach or park where someone can't see inside the vehicle.

Porto does not have an attorney.

"I would love to have an attorney if I could find one to take the type of cases I'm doing," he said.

In another case, Porto claims the city's requirements for staying overnight at the Alternative Sleeping Location for the homeless are unconstitutional.

Porto anticipates arguments for that case to begin sometime early next year.

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