Settlement reached between Riverside County, taped beating victims
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Two illegal immigrants will receive $740,000 to settle a complaint over their videotaped beating by Riverside County sheriff’s deputies.
Alicia Sotero Vasquez and her boyfriend, Enrique Funes Flores, will split the reward announced today by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union.
The two were beaten with clubs by two deputies who helped pull over a truck packed with 19 illegal immigrants following an 80-mile high-speed chase from Temecula. The driver and the other passengers ran away but were later rounded up.
News helicopters captured the April 1, 1996, chase and beating on video.
Vasquez was shoved face-first into the hood of the truck, grabbed by the hair and pulled to the ground, then struck repeatedly with clubs.
Deputy Tracy Watson was fired and Deputy Kurtis Franklin was suspended for a month. Both are appealing.
In a statement issued a day before the formal announcement, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law said that the county had done ``the right thing.″
``Although no settlement can erase the memory that Mr. Funes will forever have of that terrible day, of those vicious blows, this settlement represents at least a partial victory for the civil justice system over intolerance, prejudice and xenophobia,″ the statement said.
The county Sheriff’s Department referred calls to John Porter, a attorney who handled the matter for the county. He did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.