A U.S. District Court jury on Friday ruled in favor of the Glendale Police Department and two Glendale police officers who were sued by a 72-year-old man who claimed the officers used excessive force when they arrested him and broke his arm.
The seven-member jury returned the verdict after three days of testimony, clearing officers Aaron Zeigler and Francisco Martinez of all excessive force allegations.
“We felt like they acted totally within department policy,” City Atty. Mike Garcia said. “We are really pleased the jury acted responsibly and quickly.”
The quick verdict, he said, suggests the jury wasn’t “buying anything” that the plaintiff, Asadoor Mirzaeyan, of Glendale, was alleging.
“It is a difficult job to maintain law and order, yet we do so in a manner that is appropriate and professional,” Capt. Carl Povilaitis of the Field Services Division said in an email. “We are pleased with the jury’s verdict finding that the officers did not act in an unreasonable manner.”
Mirzaeyan’s attorney could not immediately be reached Friday afternoon.
Mirzaeyan alleged that the officers, who at the time were working undercover, broke his right arm on May 9, 2010, when they arrested him inside the Glendale Galleria. He admitted during his testimony that he had taken prescription pills and consumed alcohol at the mall that day.
Mirzaeyan claimed the officers did not identify themselves as police when they suddenly grabbed him by the arms and handcuffed him.
He was eventually charged with being drunk in public and resisting arrest, according to court documents.
Mirzaeyan later pleaded no contest to the charges and signed an apology note.
During the trial, Mirzaeyan had difficulty recalling details about the incident and his medical treatment.
Surveillance video footage was played during the first day of trial and showed the officers sitting inside a coffee shop in the mall when Mirzaeyan suddenly approached and talked to them.
A friend was shown trying to pull Mirzaeyan away from the table several times, but he refused by pushing his friend’s arm away. The footage didn’t show the arrest.
Mirzaeyan was drunk at the mall and tried to engage the officers, Assistant City Atty. Miah Yun, who represented the officers and the Glendale Police Department, said in court.
She said they displayed their badges during the incident.
Mirzaeyan struggled, yelled and resisted the officers when they were handcuffing him, she said.