Printer Fights for Compensation After SWAT Team Destroys his Shop

For thirty years, Carlos Pena ran a print shop in North Hollywood. His world was turned upside down, however, in August 2022, when a fugitive forced his way into Carlos’s shop and barricaded himself inside. After a prolonged standoff, the City of Los Angeles’s SWAT team stormed the shop, launching dozens of grenades that tore through the walls, windows, and ceilings, destroying most of Carlos’s expensive printing equipment. In total, the damage from the assault alone exceeded $60,000.

Carlos’s insurance—as is common—does not cover destruction committed by the government. Meanwhile, Carlos couldn’t afford to repair his shop and replace his equipment. He twice requested compensation from the City, which ignored his pleas. Unable to re-open his shop, Carlos has lost out on tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. Carlos had hoped to pass the business on to his son; now, he can hardly afford to pay his own bills.

This is not merely unfair; it’s unconstitutional. When the government deliberately destroys an innocent person’s property for some public benefit, it must pay for it. In this case, the City’s officers determined that the public benefit of apprehending a fugitive outweighed the costs of destroying Carlos’s shop. That was their decision to make, but, under the United States Constitution, they must pay for it.

How Your Donation Helps

  • Your contribution enables us to represent our clients at no cost to them—and to stand with them no matter how long their cases take. And when we win for our clients, we secure precedent that protects the rights of all Americans.
  • IJ receives no money from the government. Our work is powered by nearly 10,000 supporters across the country who believe in the Constitution and the ideals it enshrines. 70% of our funding comes from individuals like you.
  • There is no better investment for defending liberty than IJ. We have litigated more than 300 cases on behalf of more than 1,000 people and turned once obscure issues like civil forfeiture and eminent domain abuse into subjects of national outrage. And IJ is a good steward of donor money, having received Charity Navigator’s top rating 20 years in a row.

IJ has litigated 12 U.S. Supreme Court cases since 2002, including 10 victories.

IJ has a nearly 75% success rate through litigation and legislation.

IJ litigates nationwide, with more than 90 active cases in 32 states.