The city of El Monte has
agreed to pay $3 million and apologize to the family of Mario Paz in order
to settle a wrongful death suit filed after the 64-year-old grandfather
was shot in the back and killed during a 1999 drug raid in nearby Compton.
The city also agreed to begin training officers in Spanish and to begin
audio-taping the execution of all "high risk" search warrants.
Paz was killed during a drug
raid in which no drugs were found. An El Monte SWAT team of 13 officers,
all masked, burst into the home in the early morning hours, detonating
flash bang grenades. Many of the officers spoke no Spanish, according
to plaintiffs' attorney Johnny Cochran. According to police, Paz
was reaching for a weapon when an El Monte police officer, Sgt. George
Hopkins, shot him in the back.
Neither the US Department
of Justice nor the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office found
sufficient grounds to prosecute the police shooter. El Monte city
officials continued to deny any wrongdoing even as they settled.
"We will make a formal apologyto the Paz family," said city attorney Eugene
P. Ramirez, "but nowhere do we admit any wrongdoing. The economic
realities were uncertain. We could win big or lose big. It
would have been a crap shoot. This is not an admission of liability."
-- END --
Issue #257, 10/4/02
DEA to California Medical Marijuana Patients: Drop Dead | Federal Parole Bill Orphaned with Death of Sole Sponsor -- Activists, Prisoners Look to Other Bills, Other Sponsors | Canadian Government Announces Parliament to Consider Marijuana Decriminalization -- US Worries, Blusters | Widely Hyped Ecstasy Study Full of Holes, Critics Say | In Brazil, "Parallel Power" of the Narcos Flexes Muscle on Eve of Elections | Montana Drug Policy Task Force Calls for More Treatment and Prevention, War on Meth | The November Coalition Hits the Road: Journey for Justice Aims to Mobilize Support for Freeing Drug War Prisoners | Newsbrief: Peruvian Coca on Rise as Country Revamps Coca Eradication Effort | Uribe Wants to Recriminalize Drug Possession in Colombia | Newsbrief: California Governor Vetoes Bill Allowing Syringe Sales, Vetoed Industrial Hemp Study Earlier | Newsbrief: California Town to Pay $3 Million, Apologize for Drug Raid Death | Newsbrief: And the Killing Continues | Newsbrief: Nevada -- The Survey Says... Legalize It! | Newsbrief: University of Missouri SSDP, NORML in Marijuana Decriminalization Petition Drive | Newsbrief: US Explores Drugging Rioters | Newsbrief: Drug Warrior Maginnis Leaves Family Research Council | Newsbrief: DPA Campaign Provides Tools to Fight School Drug Testing | Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision | Do You Read The Week Online? | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar
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