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Calif. City to Pay $2.25 M in Teen Death

August 15, 2003

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ The city will pay $2.25 million to the family of a teenager fatally shot by police two years ago in a case of mistaken identity.

The settlement comes after a May federal jury verdict in which 18-year-old Antonio Saldivar’s family was awarded $2.1 million for the May 2001 shooting. Though a number of motions were filed, the city in the end decided to pay the money and add $150,000 to the jury verdict.

Police had come across Saldivar after losing track of a man they were chasing. He was shot after he allegedly pointed a toy rifle at an officer.

Assistant City Attorney Scott Field said the city contended the shooting was reasonable, but added that the jury didn’t see the case from the officer’s point of view. Investigations cleared the officer, Mark Wersching, of wrongdoing.

Ray Brown, an attorney for the Saldivar’s mother, said the family was satisfied with the settlement, ``given the realities of the legal system.″

In Los Angeles, an attorney said Thursday that the city will pay three activists more than $250,000 for injuries suffered when officers fired beanbags and rubber bullets during an anti-police protest in October 2000.

Xochitl Estrada, 23-year-old student who sustained a permanent eye injury, will get $200,000, attorney James Muller said. Two other protesters will split the rest.

Officers who broke up the demonstration did not distinguish between peaceful marchers and troublemakers, Muller said.

Neither police officials nor the city attorney would comment.

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