Man Receives Nearly $900K After California Police Make Him Confess To Murder That Didn’t Happen

After making a man confess to a murder that not only he didn’t commit but did not even happen, a California city has agreed to pay the man close to a million dollars for the incident after he filed a federal lawsuit against the city.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Fontana, Calif., will issue a check for $898,000 to Thomas Perez, Jr. after they falsely accused him of killing his father and, during a 17-hour interrogation, convinced him that he did, forcing a confession out of him. Yet, his father was alive and well, visiting his daughter in Northern California. The incident took place in August 2018.

Thomas initially reported his father, Thomas Perez, Sr. missing to the police. Police officers suspected that he killed his father, and after Perez denied doing so, they tried to convince him that he did and that he had forgotten he did the act. At one point during the interrogation, they threatened to euthanize his dog by saying that the dog was a stray. They went so far as to bring the dog into the room so Perez could say goodbye. Already traumatized by what the officers did to him, he became distraught and gave the officers what they were looking for a confession.

During their interaction with Perez, they drove him to a dirt lot. They asked him to walk around to look for his father’s body. They also told him that his father’s body was lying in a morgue.

The interrogation was recorded. “You murdered your dad,” one of the officers told him in the video. “Daddy’s dead because of you.”

Perez testified that the police did not give him his medication for depression and other mental disorders. He eventually tore out his hair and ripped open his shirt during the interrogation. When police officers left him alone in the room, he was able to tie his shoestrings around his neck in an attempt to hang himself. After being in custody for 16 hours, Perez told police that he had got into a fight with his father and stabbed him.

Yet, Perez’s father had left the house and stayed at a friend’s home that night.  He took a flight from Los Angeles International Airport to visit his daughter. When police found out he was alive, they did not inform Perez but placed him on a psychiatric hold.

“In my 40 years of suing the police, I have never seen that level of deliberate cruelty by the police,” said Perez’s attorney, Jerry L. Steering. “After what I saw on the video of what they did to him, I now know that the police can get [anyone] to confess to killing Abe Lincoln.”

Perez filed the suit against the city of Fontana and police officers David Janusz, Jeremy Hale, Ronald Koval, Robert Miller, and Joanna Piña.

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