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LA supervisors to pay $650K to settle lawsuit

August 3, 2011 12:20:24 AM PDT
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle a lawsuit charging that deputies used excessive force against a couple in Compton.

Erick Hoxey and his girlfriend were spotted by two sheriff's deputies driving without their seatbelts on at about 2 p.m. on April 12, 2008. The deputies say that Hoxey assaulted one of them, and more deputies were needed to subdue him.

But the couple said they were falsely arrested, and deputies used excessive force.

According to attorney Glen Jonas, Hoxey had been parked for five minutes when the patrol deputies pulled up next to his car.

"They pulled him out of the car and began brutally beating him with their fists and batons," Jonas said. When his girlfriend, a pre-med student at UC San Diego at the time, "begged the deputies to stop beating Mr. Hoxey, they punched her in the face and continued to slam Mr. Hoxey's head into the cement."

Lawyers claim the couple was a victim of racial profiling and claimed that the incident was part of a pattern of violence and racial animosity among deputies at the sheriff's Compton station.

The Sheriff's Department Executive Force Review Committee reviewed the arrest and concluded that the force used was reasonable and within department policy, although they directed the deputies involved to attend a four-hour tactics and survival course.

Despite the committee's finding, assistant county counsel Roger Granbo recommended settlement.

The board unanimously agreed to settle the case, but postponed a vote on any corrective action to be taken.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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