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Ventura County News Roundup

OXNARD : Man Sues 2 Counties Over Arrest, Jailing

January 23, 1991|MACK REED

An Oxnard fieldworker filed suit Tuesday against the counties of Ventura and Santa Barbara, alleging that police arrested and jailed him for seven days because they mistook him for someone else.

The suit, filed in Superior Court in both counties, says Antonio Jimenez-Orozco was arrested by police Feb. 24, 1990, while washing his car in front of his home in the 5400 block of Roland Way.

Ventura County sheriff's deputies told him that he was being arrested on suspicion of violating probation, put him into a police car and took him to Ventura County Jail for several hours, said Jimenez-Orozco's attorney, William O'Neill III.

Jimenez-Orozco, a native of Mexico who speaks little English, was not on probation and insisted all along that he was the wrong man, O'Neill said.

Unidentified police officers transferred Jimenez-Orozco to Santa Barbara County Jail in Santa Maria, where he waited a week before going to court, according to his suit.

Jimenez-Orozco was not released until March 2, after a fingerprint comparison ordered by Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Zel Canter proved that Jimenez-Orozco was not the man police were seeking, O'Neill said. Police declined to identify the parolee.

Jimenez-Orozco filed a civil claim for damages against both counties last May, but the claims were denied several weeks later, O'Neill said.

The suit seeks $500,000 in damages, alleging that the sheriff's departments were negligent and violated Jimenez-Orozco's constitutional rights by arresting him for someone else's crime. Santa Barbara County sheriff's officials could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

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