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Brutality Suit Reinstated, Trial Judge Removed From Case

June 11, 1996

A federal appeals court reinstated a Culver City police brutality suit Monday and found misconduct by the trial judge, who repeatedly clashed with the plaintiff's lawyer and ultimately threw him in jail.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered U.S. District Judge A. Andrew Hauk removed from the case, saying his actions "overstepped the bounds of judicial propriety." Such orders are relatively uncommon, but they have happened before to Hauk, an irascible 30-year veteran of the federal bench.

The case involved Mark Arrellano's predawn run-in with Culver City police in November 1987. Stopped by two officers for allegedly making an illegal left turn, he sped away, explaining later that he had been brutalized by police before and feared for his safety. Police caught up and ordered him out of his truck. An officer's gun went off during the confrontation and Arrellano was shot in the elbow.

Hauk dismissed most of the suit before it went to the jury, which rejected the remaining allegations of excessive force against three officers. But the appeals court, in a 3-0 ruling, granted a new trial on those claims and also ordered reinstatement of claims of false arrest and negligence against various officers, as well as claims against the police chief and the city.

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