Federal Judge Kills Excessive Force Lawsuit Against Garden Grove Police
An Orange County man--who claimed Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD) cops committed excessive force against him and stole $500,000 in diamonds during an illegal, 2010 raid--received bad news this month when a federal judge formally killed his case before trial and ordered him to pay GGPD's litigation expenses.
Aleksandar Mackovski and his ex-wife Andrijana Mackovska sued GGPD and officer Ray Bex for allegedly violating their constitutional rights during the execution of a search warrant in Tustin, where the duo said cops unnecessarily destroyed property and stole the diamonds.
Aleksandar also claimed that cops ambushed him while he was holding a bag of groceries and a cell phone, tackled him to the ground, knocked him out and caused face, arm and chest injuries that needed medical attention.
But U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney granted pre-trial, summary judgment to the defendants, citing his belief that Officer Bex's conduct in a drugs and weapons investigation had been reasonable; that there's no evidence the cop stole the jewels; and that destruction of doors at Andrijana's home during the raid was justified because officers had legitimate concerns for their own safety.
The judge additionally observed that the "bruises and abrasions" suffered by Aleksandar during the tackling were "a minimal to moderate intrusion" of his rights.
The plaintiffs argued Bex violated the terms of the search warrant that authorized a "daytime" raid by executing the search after 6 p.m.
But Carney noted that the court system allows cops a loophole by defining daytime--not by the traditional meaning of sunrise to sunset--but rather as between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
In total, Carney--a President George W. Bush appointee--made clear his contempt for the lawsuit, writing, "Nothing in plaintiff's supporting documents amounts to evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiffs."
On Nov. 7, Steven A. Sherman--GGPD's successful, private counsel--submitted a $24,211 bill for the plaintiffs to pay.
Officers arrested Aleksandar in the case, but several months later dropped all charges, according to court records.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.