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Teens File Brutality Claim

November 08, 1987

A $250,000 police brutality claim has been filed on behalf of two Leuzinger High School students who said they were victims of assault and false arrest by two Hawthorne police officers, Dennis Barberic and David Mains.

Attorney George V. Denny III, who filed the claim against the city on Thursday, said this is the latest in a series of incidents of brutality complaints by members of the Hawthorne Police Department.

City Manager R. Kenneth Jue and Police Chief Kenneth R. Stonebraker said they could not comment on the details of the case because it is likely be the subject of litigation.

Jue said that in the early 1980s, Hawthorne experienced a rash of brutality claims, but few serious incidents have been reported in recent years.

Last week's claim states that police officers Barberic and Mains assaulted Jonas E. Woodring, 15, and Richard C. Mendez, 16, while the boys were attending a football game at Hawthorne High School.

According to the claim, the officers questioned the boys about their skull rings and accused them of drug use and gang membership. At one point, one of the boys was held at gunpoint, Denny said. Woodring's mother also claims to have been attacked in the confrontation with police.

The claim will be presented to the City Council in the next few weeks. If it rejects the claim, Denny said he will file suit in court to seek the damages.

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