From the start, it had all the makings of a Three's Company episode – a case of mix-ups and mistaken identities.
In June 2010, Los Angeles sheriff's deputies were at a residence in Compton checking up on parolees when they knocked on the door of Duvall Mariano.
They were looking for Michael Mariano.
But instead of a few light-hearted laughs over the mistake, things turned ugly.
Duvall Mariano, who had never been arrested, says he was slow to answer his door when the officers came knocking.
According to a lawsuit recently filed in federal court:
Believing that they were being disrespected by a parolee, the deputies gave Duvall Mariano a “lesson.” The deputies beat Duvall Mariano, including using fists, legs and impact weapons. Strikes included strikes to the head.
Eventually, a sergeant yelled out that it was not the man they were looking for.
But, according to the lawsuit, “It was too late. The deputies had now beaten a man with no criminal record, and thus had no simple excuse or believable alibi for their unlawful conduct.”
Next, says Duvall Mariano, came the cover up.
He claims that the deputies concocted a lie, accusing Duvall Mariano of attempting to elbow one of the officers in the faces, unprovoked. He says that the deputies falsified police reports and lied in court to prosecute Duvall Mariano for attacking them.
Then, in December 2010, a jury unanimously decided that Duvall Mariano was not guilty.
He is now suing LA County and several deputies for knowingly and concertedly violating his civil rights.