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In North Hollywood, a business owner named Carlos Peña expressed his frustration and outrage after a judge ruled that the City of Los Angeles would not be responsible for paying for the damages caused by a SWAT team two years ago. Peña watched in horror as his almost 30-year-old print shop was destroyed when a federal fugitive stormed in, attacked him, and forced him out while law enforcement agencies pursued the suspect.

The intense situation involved U.S. Marshals and the Los Angeles Police Department’s SWAT team, with snipers and even a tank present within minutes. After 13 hours of trying to flush out the suspect using tear gas, the operation resulted in Peña’s printers, ink, T-shirts, and banners being contaminated and destroyed. Unfortunately, his insurance did not cover the damages, and his claim for equipment and lost wages was denied twice by the U.S. Marshals.

Due to this ruling by a judge that governments can seize property during criminal investigations without the obligation to pay for damages, Peña found himself at a loss. With 80% of his business gone, he now operates out of his garage and has lost his trust in the government’s ability to provide assistance when needed most. Despite the extensive damage caused by the operation, which left him feeling abandoned and disillusioned, he is determined to rebuild his business from scratch.

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