top of page

City Pays $900,000 Settlement After 17 Hour Police Interrogation 

After 17 hours of intense interrogation, Thomas Perez Jr. experienced a complete mental breakdown as Fontana police detectives questioned him about his supposedly dead father. In a moment of desperation, Perez Jr. confessed to a murder he did not commit, as his father was actually alive.

In 2018, Perez Jr. reported his father missing after an argument at home. During a search, police found Perez Sr.'s wallet, cell phone, and blood stains, leading detectives to suspect foul play. A K9 unit alerted them to the possible presence of human remains, prompting detectives to relentlessly interrogate Perez Jr., eventually causing him to falsely confess to the murder.

"We just told you we found your dead dad, and you don't give a [expletive]," one of the detectives said. 

Despite learning that Perez Sr. was alive and at his girlfriend's house without his phone, the detectives did not inform Perez Jr. Instead, they placed him on a psychiatric hold, further compounding his trauma. This treatment was described as pure psychological torture by Perez Jr.'s attorney, Jerry Steering, who secured a nearly $900,000 settlement from the city of Fontana for Perez Jr.

"Once they learned this, instead of telling him that ... they 5150 him," Steering said. "They place him on a civil protective custody hold, have him taken to the mental hospital, and then they tell the hospital that he's in custody and they can't have anybody contacting him."

Steering, who has practiced law for 40 years, called the detectives' actions the worst act of deliberate cruelty he had ever seen. He noted that the interrogation tactics were so manipulative that they could coerce anyone into a false confession.

The ordeal highlights severe misconduct within the Fontana Police Department, which remains unaddressed by the city and police officials. Despite attempts to contact them, KCAL News did not receive a response from Fontana police or city representatives.

Link: CBS News


bottom of page