Business Owner’s Dream Shattered: Fight for Compensation in the Face of Government Liability

LA County Business Owner Compelled to Pay for Damages Incurred During SWAT Raid

Carlos Peña, a North Hollywood business owner, is expressing his anger and frustration after a federal judge ruled that the City of Los Angeles will not be held liable for compensating him for damages caused by a SWAT team nearly two years ago. Peña feels defenseless in the face of this decision and has lost faith in the government.

On August 4, 2022, a federal fugitive entered Peña’s print shop and attacked him before law enforcement intervened. The scene was chaotic as U.S. Marshals and the LAPD’s SWAT team engaged in a 13-hour standoff with the suspect. Tear gas was used by authorities, which contaminated all of Peña’s printing equipment and supplies, including printers, ink, T-shirts, and banners. Despite Peña’s efforts to file a claim for around $60,000 in lost equipment and wages, the U.S. Marshals denied his claim. This led Peña to sue the city for damages.

However, a federal judge ultimately ruled that the government is allowed to seize property during criminal investigations, absolving the City of Los Angeles from compensating Peña for damages caused during the standoff. This decision has only added to Peña’s devastation as he has relocated his business operations to his garage and experienced an 80% decline in business since then. He has also lost hope in justice as the suspect was not apprehended despite extensive destruction caused by law enforcement agents.

Peña feels abandoned by both law enforcement agencies involved in this incident and feels helpless against their actions towards him and his business interests.

In conclusion, this incident highlights how difficult it can be for businesses like Carlos Peña’s to navigate legal issues resulting from property damage caused by law enforcement actions during criminal investigations. It also raises questions about when property seizure is justified and when adequate compensation should be provided to those affected by such actions.

Despite this setback, Carlos continues to work hard on rebuilding his business operations while holding onto hope that justice will prevail one day.

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