California Cousins Awarded $1.6M in Excessive Force Suit

On Friday, October 7th, a federal jury awarded over $1.6 million to two cousins,  Miguel Conreras and Miguel Vazquez, who were beaten by batons and stomped on by Long Beach, California police officers in November 2010.

Contreras and Vazquez were returning to Vasquez's apartment from a local bar when they walked past an ongoing police incident. When Vazquez asked officers what was going on, he was pushed and told to go home. An altercation resulted and Vazquez ended up being forced to the ground by then-Sergeant David Faris and beaten repeatedly by his baton. When Contreras asked why his cousin was being detained, Officer Michael Hynes responded by striking him over a dozen times with his baton, causing multiple fractures. Contreras can no longer fully extend his arm.

Contreras' attorney, NPAP member Thomas Beck, alleged that complaints the cousins filed with the city against the officers' conduct were closed without investigators ever interviewing anyone involved in the incident. According to Beck, “this is a representation, emblematic of the way the department treats these types of behaviors."

Contreras was awarded $1.25 million in damages; Vasquez was awarded $375,000. Vasquez was represented by David McLane and NPAP member Caitlin Weisberg.