LA County to Pay $47M Over Alleged Misconduct By Deputies
Los Angeles County will pay $47.6 million to resolve claims alleging sheriff’s deputies’ wrongdoing, including $8 million to the family of a man whose death two years ago sparked widespread protests. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Board of Supervisors decided to authorize payments to settle five complaints on Tuesday.
In three of the incidents, deputies used deadly force to detain the victims; in one, they failed to stop a man from killing himself in custody; and in another, a man whose family said he was experiencing a mental health crisis died as a result of the force used by deputies to restrain him. The board unanimously approved each settlement.
According to sheriff’s officials, Guardado was seen by two deputies holding a weapon outside an auto body business where his family claimed he worked as a security guard. Miguel Vega, one of the deputies, approached to put handcuffs on the teen’s wrists, Guardado had already surrendered, laid the revolver on the ground, and was laying face down.
The deputy reported that as Guardado reached for the gun, Vega fired six shots, five of which struck Guardado. The payment gives closure, but his father, Cristobal Guardado, said in a statement that the family won’t be at peace until the deputy is held accountable on a criminal level.
In another case, $16.2 million was authorized for the family of 39-year-old Eric Briceno, who passed away in 2020 after being beaten and shot in the Maywood home of his family. His mother had contacted the sheriff’s office to get assistance for her son who was experiencing a mental health crisis. According to the coroner’s office, Briceno’s death was caused by the consequences of restraint.
According to a spokeswoman on Tuesday, the district attorney’s office is still considering whether to charge the officers in the killings of Guardado and Briceno. According to the DA’s office analysis of the incident, Timothy Neal received the maximum payout of $16.5 million. Neal was shot by deputies in 2019 after they broke down the door of his bedroom, where he was clutching two knives.
Deputies acted in self-defense, thus prosecutors decided not to press charges against them. Additionally, deputies had visited the home the day before after Neal’s mother had contacted the Sheriff’s Office to report that he was crazy and attempting to kill her. After an hour-long standoff, the deputies dispersed but came back the next day in response to a second call from Neal’s mother.