Glendale OKs $300K to man claiming he was abused by officer

The city of Glendale has agreed to pay a 23-year-old man $300,000 to settle claims that he sustained serious injuries when a police officer slammed him against a wall, according to documents released this week.

The settlement was reached in March with Yervand Alexanian, who alleged that after Glendale Police Officer Matthew Ruzgerian used “unreasonable force” on Jan. 1, 2011 inside the city jail, he suffered head trauma, facial lacerations and a broken nose.

The claim was settled before Alexanian could file a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

In agreeing to the settlement, City Atty. Mike Garcia said the city “admits no wrongdoing or liability.”

“We agreed to settle because it was in the best interests of the city to do so,” he said.

Alexanian’s attorney, Garo Mardirossian, could not be reached for comment. Mardirossian is also representing the family of Kelly Thomas, a Fullerton homeless man who died after a violent confrontation with Fullerton police.

A clause in the settlement forbids Alexanian and his attorney from disclosing “to any person or entity the existence, contents, or subject matter” of the agreement.

Ruzgerian, who was hired in 2005, remains on-duty with Glendale police as a patrol officer, Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said. He declined to comment on whether Ruzgerian was disciplined for the incident, citing personnel matters and the confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement.

The incident, he said, was investigated and handled internally.

Alexanian was arrested about 3:55 a.m. at North Central Avenue and West Doran Street on suspicion of driving under the influence. He underwent a field sobriety test, a Breathalyzer test and a blood test at a hospital, according to the claim.

Alexanian claimed Ruzgerian taunted him by making funny faces and made comments about his parents being rich and bailing him out of jail after finding money in his wallet.

Alexanian allegedly told Ruzgerian that his mother died when he was young, but said the officer continued to taunt him, according to the claim.

When they walked into a room at the station, Ruzgerian allegedly grabbed Alexanian’s neck and slammed him against a wall, causing him to black out, according to the claim.

“I remember blacking out from the force of the slam against the wall, and waking up to a confused state of mind,” Alexanian stated. “I regained consciousness and noticed blood all over my shirt and clothes.”

Alexanian stated in his claim that when he awoke, officers were hovering over him.

Paramedics took him to the hospital, where he received x-rays and treatment for his injuries.

Later that year in June, Alexanian pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was sentenced to three years probation. He was also ordered to pay fines and participate in an alcohol counseling program.


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