After two police officers are accused of spray-painting a swastika inside a man’s car three years ago, the city of Torrance in Southern California has agreed to pay a Redondo Beach resident $750,000.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the payment resolves a federal complaint brought by Kiley Swaine, who spotted the swastika on his car’s back seat after he and two other men were arrested on suspicion of mail theft in January 2020. Swaine was later exonerated of the accusations of mail theft.
The swastika and a happy face are allegedly spray-painted on Swaine’s front passenger seat by Torrance police officers Christopher Tomsic and Cody Weldin, who also allegedly damaged the inside before having the car taken away, according to a news release from Swaine’s lawyer.
After being freed, Swaine proceeded to get his car and reported the vandalism.
According to reports, Tomsic and Weldin have quit the force and entered a not-guilty plea while awaiting trial on allegations of conspiracy and vandalism.
Swaine reported the vandalism less than two days after it happened, but it appears that he was unaware of the charges brought against the cops until October 2021, when LA County District Attorney George Gascón made the announcement.
Swaine’s lawyer, Jerry Steering, said in a statement, “I have been litigating police officers for 39 years, and I have never seen anything like this. “It never ceases to amaze me that quite frequently the very persons trusted by our citizenry to protect us from dangerous criminals are more dangerous than the criminals they are meant to be protecting us from,” the writer once said.
The Torrance Police Department’s officers were found to have exchanged hateful text messages targeting Jews, members of the LGBTQ community, and people of color, especially Black people, according to a 2021 Times investigation.
Some texts discussed employing violence against suspects and fabricating a police gunshot to investigators.
The municipal attorney for Torrance declined to speak to the Newspaper about the agreement. South of Los Angeles, in Torrance, there are 143,000 people living.