Lawsuit: Mentally Challenged Man Says LAPD Stomped and Beat Him

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Fri, May 20, 2011 at 12:06 PM
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Manuel Candelaria, a mentally challenged man living near Boyle Heights, says he was frightened and threatened when a Century 21 agent showed up at his home - screaming and yelling at him -- with an eviction notice.

At some point during their confrontation on February 5, 2010, the agent got the cops involved, falsely claiming that Candelaria was being violent, says Candelaria.

When officers from LAPD showed up, claims Candelaria in a federal lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the agent, the cops threw him to the ground, stomped on him, beat him with batons and put him in handcuffs, even though Candelaria says he complied with all their demands.

And while this seems like your pretty typical excessive force, he-said, he-said case, it is not. For it appears as though the real estate agent is vouching for the cops.

Candelaria filed his lawsuit in February, claiming the officers used unnecessary force, illegally detained him for several hours at a police station and never charged him with any crime.

On Tuesday, however, the Century 21 agent, Xavier Izquierdo, filed a counterclaim against Candelaria saying, essentially, he had no problems with how the cops dealt with mentally challenged man.

Izquierdo says the owner of the property where Candelaria was living asked him to serve eviction papers and then list the property for sale. Following the eviction notice, however, Candelaria and his family "illegally re-occupied" the home and refused to vacate when asked to do so, stating he had a right to be there and had guns to defend himself.

Then, on February 5, 2010, Izquierdo says he telephoned Candelaria and once again asked Candelaria to leave the home. Izquierdo claims that Candelaria again refused, stating he "had an AK-47 which he would use to 'take out' anybody who attempted to evict him," according to the lawsuit.

Once LAPD officers arrived, says Izquierdo, Candelaria walked outside toward the authorities, "removed his shirt and took an aggressive boxing stance."

In the end, say Izquierdo, Candelaria's actions "were so severe and outrageous that they ultimately forced the LAPD officers to take steps to physically subdue him."

LAPD lawyers also deny any wrongdoing on the part of the officers. Taken independently, neither Izquierdo's claims not the police's denial mean much, but it appears Candelaria could be in for a rough ride in court in his fight to prove excessive force against the LAPD.

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