The family of a man who was suffered a severe beating that left him in a coma, allegedly at the hands of an off-duty LAPD police officer outside a Rancho Cucamonga bar, has filed a claim against the city seeking $195 million.
According to the claim, Alton Preston Jr., 35, was at the Hide-A-While Lounge on Oct. 28, 2018, during Game 5 of the World Series. Preston had stepped outside to make a phone call when a fight broke out after someone allegedly directed racial slurs at his friends, who are African-American.
The altercation spilled out outside the bar, where Preston became involved.
Civil Rights Attorney Carl Douglas, who is representing Alton's wife Rahshana and two young children, said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that Preston stepped in and tried to stop the fight.
At that point, witnesses said someone struck Preston in the head with a beer bottle, knocking him unconscious. That same person then hit Preston with a "heavy metal sign" in the head "while he lay defenseless on the ground," Douglas said.
The claim says an off-duty officer, Ricardo Dominguez, and "other unknown Los Angeles Police Department officers" were involved in the attack, although it does not specifically state who struck Preston.
Witnesses identified Dominguez as the man who hit Preston with the bottle, Douglas said at the news conference.
Preston was left with severe injuries and remains in a coma.
The claim also says Dominguez and the other unknown officers, none of whom are African-American, attacked Preston "on account of his African-American race."
The claim says Dominguez is a "dangerous and violent employee, who has a long history of engaging in unreasonable, unlawful, and excessive violence, especially when he is off-duty and has been drinking alcohol," and "has been disciplined and suspended in the past for off-duty conduct involving domestic violence and alcohol abuse."
The officers involved later gave "false and misleading reports" about the incident, the lawsuit alleges.
"My kids haven't been able to see their father. It's been hard trying to stay strong for them because they cry every night," Rahshana said at the news conference. "They pray for him every night."
At this point, no one has been charged in Preston's attack.
The family is now planning to file a lawsuit for $195 million.
"I gave this family my pledge that we will seek justice not only for Alton Preston Jr., not only for Rahshana Preston, but also for Kiari and Amari, who deserve to have their father back," Douglas said. "With this statement, the struggle begins."