Connect with us

World News

Man gave police false confession after ‘psychological torture’



Man gave police false confession after 'psychological torture'

A California man received a $900,000 settlement from the city of Fontana after he was wrongly accused of killing his father and gave detectives a false confession amid “psychological torture,” his attorney announced Thursday.

Thomas Perez Jr. was never formally arrested, but was taken to the Fontana Police Department on August 8, 2018, after reporting his father missing, according to a press release provided to JS.

There, Perez underwent an intense 17-hour interrogation by multiple detectives who used a series of traumatic techniques to extract a confession, including threatening his beloved dog, the press release said.

But Perez’s father was alive the entire time, said his attorney, Jerry Steering.

The This is reported by the Orange County Register about the six-figure settlement for Perez this week, which brought national attention to the case.

An image from the Fontana Police Department, via Google Maps.

Authorities began to suspect Perez after discovering that his missing father had left his cell phone and wallet in their shared home. Officers also claimed they discovered bloodstains in the home and said K-9 dogs detected an “odor of deceased human remains,” according to a June 2023 summary judgment document obtained by JS.

Video cited in the document showed officers “verbally abusing” Perez, claiming he killed his father. They also insisted that he did not need access to his psychiatric medication under the ruling.

Perez claimed he had no memory of killing his father, but authorities told him the memory of his father’s murder was too painful to remember, according to the press release sent to JS.

At some point, authorities told Perez that his father had been found dead with stab wounds on his body and that his remains had already been delivered to the morgue, the news release said.

Detectives eventually brought Perez’s dog into the interrogation room and told him he would be euthanized if he did not confess to killing his father, the verdict said.

“How can you sit there, how can you sit there and say you don’t know what happened, when your dog is sitting there looking at you, knowing that you killed your father?” said a detective. “Look at your dog. She knows because she walked through all the blood.”

The verdict noted that Perez was clearly under pressure, pulling his hair, hitting himself and taking off his own shirt before nearly falling to the ground. In the video evidence cited in the document, officers could see Perez laughing as they told him he was causing the dog stress.

Authorities also called his friend to the station to speak with Perez to “help elicit a confession based on threats of prosecution,” according to the ruling. The friend told Perez that “they say they have enough evidence.”

Perez eventually gave detectives a confession. Shortly afterwards, he was left alone in the interrogation room and tried to hang himself by using his shoelaces as a makeshift noose, the verdict said.

Perez was then taken to a hospital and held in psychiatric custody for 72 hours. Authorities told hospital staff not to let anyone contact him.

Detectives received a call from Perez’s sister that evening informing them that their father was still alive. It turned out he was in El Monte with a ‘girlfriend’.

But because Perez was in psychiatric custody, he was not immediately contacted and told his father was safe.

“Between mentally torturing Tom Perez into a false confession, hiding from him that his father was alive, and locking him in the psychiatric ward because they made him suicidal, in the forty years I’ve been denouncing the police, I’ve never seen that level before. of deliberate cruelty,” said Steering, the lawyer.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee stated in the ruling that “a reasonable juror could conclude that the detectives inflicted unconstitutional psychological torture on Perez.”

After the harrowing ordeal, Perez is now doing well, Steering told JS in an email. He has also been reunited with his dog, the Register reported.

The Fontana Police Department did not respond to a request for comment from JS.

Steering said in the news release that Perez agreed to settle the case because of the “looming possibility that the Fontana officers may have prevailed on appeal.”

According to the attorney, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals brought police misconduct lawsuits based on the doctrine of qualified immunity. the Legal Defense Fund describes as a “court-created rule that protects public officials, including police officers, when indicted.”

If you or someone you know needs help, call or text 988 or chat for mental health care. Additionally, you can find local mental health and crisis resources at Outside the US you can visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention.