Glendale officials say police acted properly despite jury verdict
Glendale officials said today that they were considering all their options -- legal and otherwise -- in the aftermath of a federal court verdict that awarded $1.3 million to a Glendale man who spent eight months in a Los Angeles County jail after he was falsely accused of murder.
Edmond Ovasapyan, 28, sued the Glendale Police Department in U.S. District Court for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, with his lawyers arguing that the detectives who arrested him in connection with a 2005 home-invasion slaying initially ignored exculpatory evidence, including his alibi.
Glendale officials maintain that they had probable cause for the arrest, and it was their officers that continued to investigate the case, later uncovering the evidence that cleared Ovasapyan.
"The detectives didn't give up," said City Atty. Scott Howard. "If it wasn't for the continued investigation by these officers, there is a chance that this person would have gone to trial and may have been convicted."
Howard said Ovasapyan gave conflicting statements to investigators in the immediate aftermath of the killing and that one of the victims identified him as being at the scene.
Furthermore, Howard said, it was DNA evidence that the officers found on a hat belonging to another suspect as well as a subsequent confession from that individual that led the Los Angeles County district attorney's office to seek Ovasapyan's release.
-- Andrew Blankstein