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Victim in wrong-man warrant arrest nets $150,000 settlement from Colton, San Bernardino County

By in Press Enterprise on July 8, 2017

By City News Service

A man who highlighted long-standing flaws in California’s warrants system after law enforcement arrested him on a warrant meant for someone else has settled his civil rights case against the County of San Bernardino and the City of Colton.

In 2016, Manuel Bravo Martinez filed a federal complaint against the county and its sheriff’s department and the City of Colton and its police, claiming officials had jailed hundreds of people on warrants meant for someone else. In some cases, officials had mistakenly arrested people on the warrants multiple times, according to Martinez.

On Thursday, Martinez filed court documents confirming that the parties had settled the case.

“The city council of defendant City of Colton and the board of supervisors for defendant County of San Bernardino have approved settlement agreements disposing of this case; plaintiff awaits only the issuance of the settlement checks,” the two-page filing states.

Martinez was jailed at the San Bernardino County Jail Central Detention Center on Aug. 11, 2015 after a Colton police officer stopped him during a morning drive for failing to use a proper child restraint in his vehicle.

Martinez said officers arrested him after running a warrant check and finding an outstanding warrant for another Manuel Martinez who was facing fraud, drug and weapon charges.

But there were major differences between the subject of the warrant and Martinez, he said. He had a different middle name, and he is not a “junior” as the suspect was. Their birth dates were two months and eight days apart. Martinez had an address in Hawaii, but the man on the warrant lived in California – and their drivers’ license numbers were different.

Colton police Officer Matthew Collins arrested and jailed Martinez despite his protests, he said. He added that jailers should have realized their error because his fingerprints were on file from a 2007 […]    

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