Police pressured him to confess to a murder that never happened. Now, Fontana will pay him $900,000

The city of Fontana has agreed to pay nearly $900,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed by a man who said police pressured him to falsely confess to a murder that never happened.

During a 17-hour interrogation in August 2018, Fontana Police Department officers questioned Thomas Perez Jr. about the disappearance of his father, whom Perez had reported missing. Officers alleged Perez had murdered his father and, when Perez denied the accusation, officers tried to convince him that he had forgotten the crime, according to a federal lawsuit, court records and video of the interrogation.

Throughout their lengthy questioning of Perez, officers used a variety of tactics aimed at goading him into confessing. They brought his dog into the interrogation room, told him the dog had walked through blood and would be sent away to be euthanized. They drove Perez to a dirt lot and asked him to walk around in search of his dad’s body. They told him that his father’s body was in a morgue.

“You murdered your dad,” one of the officers said, according to video of the interrogation. “Daddy’s dead because of you.”

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