Baldwin Park rejects $1 million claim

Here’s an update on the story from 2008 when then-Councilman Anthony Bejarano was arrested after he intervened when the police pulled over his friends. Bejarano, who said he had been drinking, told the driver of the car he didn’t have to answer the officers’ questions. Then he and the officers got into an argument. The officer claimed Bejarano and one of his friends were very drunk. Bejarano and his friend said the weren’t:

BALDWIN PARK – The city rejected a $1 million claim filed by a man who says police wrongly arrested him during an incident that also led to the arrest of a city councilman.

Jose Diaz, 33, of Monrovia claims officers erroneously arrested and humiliated him on Sept. 19, 2008, when police took Diaz and then-Councilman Anthony Bejarano into custody on suspicion they were drunk in public.

A third man, Collin Spencer of Baldwin Park, was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Bejarano lost a re-election bid in November.

Prosecutors declined to file charges on Bejarano and Spencer, but they filed on Diaz about three weeks after the arrest.

On March 25, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Douglas Sortino acquitted Diaz after several days of trial.

After the acquittal, Diaz filed a $1 million claim against the city. The City Council this month rejected the claim.

Diaz is now considering filing a lawsuit against the city, he said.

He believes he got caught up in a political battle between Bejarano and Councilman Ricardo Pacheco.

Bejarano also claimed the arrest was politically motivated.

Bejarano said Pacheco pushed for the Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office to go after him and Diaz.

Pacheco refused to say if he instructed police officers to pursue charges against Diaz with the DA’s Office.

“Mr. Jose Diaz, who I don’t know, wants to take taxpayer dollars,” Pacheco said. “This is just a fabrication of his imagination. I don’t think there’s any merit to his claim.”

Baldwin Park Police Chief Lili Hadsell said she never had been pressured regarding the Diaz case.

“We arrest people when they violate the law,” she said. “We’re not influenced by any political figures.”

Staff Writer Thomas Himes contributed to this story.

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