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“Psychologically Tortured,” California Pays a Man Almost $1 Million After He Was Questioned by Police for 17 Hours


California has decided to pay Thomas Perez Jr. $900,000. During his 17-hour interrogation, police officers forced him to lie and say they killed his alive father. The settlement was made after a lawsuit that showed how badly the police were acting.

In 2018, police in Fontana, which is east of Los Angeles, questioned Perez Jr. after he said that his father, Thomas Perez Sr., was missing. Even though his father was eventually found safe, police accused him of murder. Threats to kill Perez Jr.’s dog and a lot of psychological pressure were used during the questioning.

Officers kept saying that Perez Jr. killed his father and then forgot about it because he was mentally ill. They lied when they said they found blood and the smell of a dead body in Perez’s house. Perez Jr. was going through withdrawal and not getting enough sleep, so he was constantly accused, which made him lie and admit.

The video of the questioning showed that Perez Jr. was in a lot of pain. While the police laughed, he begged for medical help, pulled out his hair, and tried to hurt himself. They even lied about finding the body of his father, which made Perez Jr. lose it.

A federal judge said that what the cops did was “unconstitutional psychological torture.” For $898,00, the city decided to settle the case. Jerry Steering, Perez Jr.’s lawyer, said the case showed how easy it is to get people to give false statements and criticized the police for being intentionally cruel.

The trouble started on August 7, 2018, when Perez Sr. left the house to get the mail and never came back. The next day, Perez Jr. said he wasn’t there. Police thought Perez Jr.’s behavior was odd and arrested him to question him. They said they found proof of a crime when they searched his house, but Steering denied this.

During the questioning, police constantly accused Perez Jr. of murder, which caused him a lot of physical and emotional pain. He was upset and was seen on video pulling his hair out and hitting himself. Police even brought his dog in, which made it seem like the dog was sad from seeing the fake death.

Police lied about finding Perez Jr.’s father’s body, so he finally gave a false confession. He tried to kill himself when he was left alone, which shows how bad the questioning was. After that, he was put on a forced psychiatric hold, which is where he first learned about his Miranda rights.

The nightmare ended when Perez Sr.’s daughter said he was still living and traveling. Even so, the cops locked Perez Jr. up alone in a mental hospital for three days because they thought his father and dog were dead. He later got his dog back from the pound.

The Fontana police haven’t said anything about what happened or said what punishments were given to the cops involved. Steering stressed how important the case was and how powerful police coercion can be and how easy it is to get false statements.

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