UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a statement from the city or Torrance, California.
The city of Torrance, California is paying a Jewish man $750,000 in a settlement for a lawsuit he filed against the city and the police department after Torrance police allegedly committed an antisemitic hate crime during an arrest, according to the Washington Post.
Kiley Swaine was arrested in 2020 for suspected mail fraud, for which he was later cleared, and when he went to retrieve his car from the police impound area found a swastika spray painted on the rear seat, according to the Post. Swaine settled with the city last month for $750,000 according to a March 16 statement from his attorney, Jerry Steering. (RELATED: Updated FBI Stats Show 150% More Antisemitic Hate Crimes Than Originally Reported)
“I have been suing police officers for 39 years and I have never seen anything like this,” Steering said, according to the Post.
Swaine’s car had been allegedly ransacked with protein powder and rice thrown all over the car and, in addition to the swastika, a smiley face had been spray painted on the front seat, according to the Post. Swaine was told initially that the tow yard had accepted responsibility for the damage and the hateful images, but Swaine believed that the two Torrance officers, Cody Weldin and Christopher Tomsic, that arrested him were responsible.
In 2021, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Weldin and Tomsic for the vandalism, according to the Post. Swaine filed the lawsuit later in January 2022 arguing that the towing company had covered for the police department in order to keep business from the department and after an investigation by California Attorney General Rob Bonta revealed a history of racist behavior from the police department including comments about lynching black men and “gassing” Jewish people.
Just over a year after Swaine filed the lawsuit, the city opted to settle for $750,000, according to the Post. The case is still ongoing and both officers have maintained that they are innocent but Weldin’s attorney told the Post that “political reasons” had resulted in the city caving to Swaine’s lawsuit.
City Attorney Patrick Sullivan told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “the City of Torrance will not be commenting on this matter.”
TPD and Steering did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment
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