Orange County Register Logo Owner of car painted with swastika allegedly by Torrance police wants $6 million in damages ‘They’re acting like gangsters, trying to intimidate me,’ said Kiley Swaine about the vandalism to his Hyundai By TONY SAAVEDRA | firstname.lastname@example.org and JOE NELSON | email@example.com | Orange County Register PUBLISHED: January 20, 2022 at 7:11 p.m. The owner of an impounded car allegedly painted with a swastika by two ex-Torrance police officers is suing for $6 million in damages, alleging a tow truck yard colluded with the city to hide the police involvement. Swastika painted on seat of Kiley Swaine’s car by Torrance Police Department officers The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court, alleges Van Lingen Towing conspired with the city partially so car owner Kiley Swaine would not find out the Torrance department was responsible until after the one year statute of limitations for litigation had expired. The suit contends the statute, which is the deadline for filing civil action, should not have begun ticking until Swaine was officially informed of the department’s involvement in October 2021 — almost two years after the damage to his Hyundai. That was also two months after the Police Department announced at a press conference the alleged involvement of former Officers Corey Weldin and Christopher Tomsic, who are facing criminal charges of conspiracy and vandalism for allegedly spray painting the swastika and a smiley face inside Swaine’s car. Named in the lawsuit are the city of Torrance, Weldin and Tomsic. The filing seeks $3 million in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. ‘They’re acting like gangsters’ In an interview late Thursday, Jan. 20, Swaine, 28, told the Southern California News Group that his father’s grandmother was Jewish. “Initially, when I first saw the vandalism, I was shocked. I felt disgraced. I felt intimidated by the swastika,” Swaine said. “They’re acting like gangsters, trying to intimidate me.” Neither Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey nor Police Chief Jeremiah Hart could be reached for comment. Arrested in mail theft Swaine was arrested in the early morning hours of January 2020 on suspicion of stealing mail from a Torrance apartment building. He was held in jail overnight and released the next day. No charges were ever filed, but his car was impounded. Swaine and his father learned the car was vandalized when they went to the tow yard two days later to pick up the vehicle. The lawsuit said the tow yard paid the $2,250 cost of repairing the damage to the car. Swaine said he was led to believe wrongly that the vehicle was trashed by the tow truck driver. “What were they supposed to do? Turn in the police?” said Swaine’s attorney, Jerry Steering of Newport Beach. Steering said the tow yard may have been trying to preserve its lucrative impound contract with the city. Tow truck driver initially a suspect The case unraveled after tow truck driver Christopher Dunn, who was interrogated by police as a suspect, broke down and said he had witnessed Tomsic spray painting the outside of the car. Dunn also received a text message from Weldin apologizing for the damage, according to court documents. Torrance investigators concluded that they would probably find evidence on the officers’ cellphones that the vandalism was a felony hate crime. What they found on the phone has resulted in a black eye for the Torrance Police Department: racist and homophobic text messages. In all, more than a dozen officers have been suspended in relation to the texts. State and local investigations are continuing into the racist and homophobic comments.