- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

CORONA, Calif. (AP) - A man is suing the Southern California city of Corona for civil rights violations, claiming police officers used excessive force during an arrest in which he suffered a broken arm.

The Press-Enterprise reported (https://bit.ly/1WifyeN ) Tuesday that the city tried settling the case brought by Jose Miranda, 25, two weeks ago, but Miranda’s attorney said the offer was insufficient.

On Dec. 12, 2014, Miranda had gotten into a car with two friends at his apartment complex when police pulled up in search of a car theft suspect who ran through the area, according to police audio recordings cited by the newspaper. The three were ordered out of the car.

Police cruiser video released to The Press-Enterprise showed Miranda exiting the car with his hands above his head and making movements to comply with officers’ orders.

Miranda claims Officer Max Medeiros broke his arm during the arrest and that officers called him a “cry baby” and denied him medical treatment.

The newspaper reported the video did not show the arrest but that Officer Richard Youngquist and Medeiros could be heard struggling with Miranda during the handcuffing, telling him to “stop resisting.” Miranda told them he was not resisting.

In an interview recorded at the scene shortly afterward, a soft-spoken Medeiros allowed Miranda to take off the handcuffs and explained the misunderstanding about the car theft suspect, the newspaper said. Miranda told the officer he was scared, that it was instinctual for him to flex because he was placed in an uncomfortable position, and that he didn’t feel officers were trying to hurt him.

The Press-Enterprise said none of the audio depicted officers mocking Miranda.

“Miranda has his story, but the video and audio prove that it didn’t happen the way he claims,” police Chief Mike Abel wrote in a news release. “He was never punched or kicked. We didn’t try to break his arm and we regret that it occurred, but when people resist arrest it heightens the risk of injury both to the officer and the arrestee.”

Miranda’s attorney, John Tiedt, said he suspects that when officers found they had the wrong person they trumped up the claim of resisting arrest to eliminate liability.

Assistant City Attorney John Higginbotham said the settlement offer was a strategic decision under a rule in which the city avoids paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees if a jury awards less than the city’s initial offer. Neither side commented on the amount.

___

Information from: The Press-Enterprise, https://www.pe.com

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