LOS ANGELES – A jury has found the city of Downey and one of its officers liable for bringing false murder charges against a resident in 2017.
On June 12, 2017, a violent exchange occurred between suspected associates of a Mexican drug cartel, resulting in the wrongful arrest of Fernando Garcia for a double homicide.
“This is a case that highlights how police sometimes abuse their power and maliciously construct narratives that are not backed with evidence,” said attorney Anthony Willoughby, who represented Garcia. “We are fortunate that we were able to have a jury listen to the facts and send a message to the police department that this malicious, and corrupt behavior is not acceptable and won’t be tolerated in America!”
Despite being aware of the true gunman, that confessed to the crime, the Downey Police Department proceeded with Garcia’s arrest, leading him to file a lawsuit in 2018 against the city of Downey, Officer Carlos Bejines, and the state of California for malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, and false arrest.
Authorities have recordings obtained through an authorized wiretap that could exonerate Garcia and implicate the true shooter and potentially the Downey PD in Mexican cartel involvement, the police department refused to provide them.
Garcia was awarded $70,000 in damages, $1 million for wrongful conduct and $50,00 against Bejines for punitive damages.
Garcia thanks the jury for believing in him and looks forward to putting this ordeal behind him as he continues to heal with his family.