HUNTINGTON PARK — The City Council has authorized its insurance company to provide lawyers and pay legal costs for the council, the police chief and eight police officers named in an $80-million lawsuit charging that the police used excessive force when they broke up a birthday party last fall.
The lawsuit, filed July 19, names Mayor Jim Roberts, Councilmen Herbert Hennes, Jack W. Parks, Thomas E. Jackson, William P. Cunningham, Police Chief Geano Contessotto and policemen Dale Shields, Carl Heintz, William Lustig, Daniel Banzet, Henry Batterton, Robert Mercado, Jonathan Nerlinger and Ron Whisenant.
Filed on behalf of 17 people attending a party on Oct. 17, 1984, the suit charges that the policemen searched the premises in "a violent and abusive manner" and "committed batteries and physical violence." It asks for $80 million in general and punitive damages.
The suit was filed after Alejandro and Esther Miramontes were charged with assaulting police at the party. The charges against the two were dismissed by Judge John W. Bunnett, who cited insufficient evidence at their July 11 trial in Huntington Park Municipal Court, according to court records.