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Activist Claims Officials Harassed Him, Files Suit

August 25, 1991|MICHELE FUETSCH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Veteran community activist Benjamin Miranda has filed suit for an unspecified amount in damages against Councilman Armando Rea and City Clerk Andrea L. Hooper, charging that they harassed and intimidated him for two years after he was falsely accused by Hooper of making a bomb threat.

In April, 1988, the clerk signed a criminal complaint against Miranda, saying that he had threatened both her and the city. Two years later, a Compton Municipal Court judge dismissed the charges.

The suit accuses Rea, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, of trying to persuade the Los Angeles County district attorney's office to prosecute the case as a felony instead of a misdemeanor. It also accuses Sheriff's Capt. Stuart Hansell of conspiring in Miranda's arrest and prosecution. At the time of the alleged threat, Hansell was commander of the Lynwood sheriff's station where Rea worked.

Miranda's suit contends that the accusations against him always lacked substance but that the three defendants spent two years trying to get him prosecuted.

Hooper, Rea and Hansell all denied the charges contained in the suit but declined to comment further.

The suit was filed last month in Compton Superior Court, but the city was not served with a notice until Aug. 7. Rea was served with notice of the suit last week during the City Council meeting.

Miranda contends in the suit that between the time of his arrest and the date two years later when the court dismissed the charges, he suffered mental and physical injury and loss of earning power. Miranda, a laborer, said he lost his job as a result of the charges against him.

He also said in his suit that he now suffers from a heart condition as a result of his ordeal and has an accumulation of medical bills.

Miranda has run unsuccessfully several times for municipal office, the last time in the 1989 City Council contest.

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