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South Bay Digest

Hawthorne : Policewoman Accused of Crime Wins Stress Pay

February 07, 1985

Police Officer Pamela S. Ragan, 31, who is facing criminal charges in connection with an alleged assault on a handcuffed prisoner after a 1982 bar brawl, has been awarded nearly $3,000 in medical expenses and attorney's fees and up to $27,000 in back salary because of job-related stress. The ruling was handed down by state Workers' Compensation Judge Louis M. Daraban after a hearing in Long Beach.

Daraban held that Ragan has been temporarily disabled since she went off duty last May 5 and is entitled to full salary for up to a year from that date.

Ragan, who has been with the Police Department for four years and earns $27,000 a year, intends to file for permanent disability retirement, according to her attorney.

The city will appeal Daraban's ruling. "We do not think she (Ragan) is ill and if she is, we don't think it's job related," said City Atty. Michael Adamson.

Daraban said that medical evidence clearly showed "the existence of a disability." He cited anxiety and tension dating back to Ragan's probationary period with the department as well as her exposure to two suicides and to a knife threat by a motorist she stopped last year. Daraban concluded that Ragan "suffered an injury to her psyche" as the result of her work as a Hawthorne police officer.

Ragan is scheduled to appear Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court for pretrial motions on charges that she assaulted 45-year-old Calvin Kerns as he lay on the ground in handcuffs after a bar brawl on Oct. 29, 1982. Ragan was indicted by the county Grand Jury after three Hawthorne police officers, two bar patrons and a bartender testified that they saw Ragan kick Kerns. Laurie Belger, Ragan's attorney, said he will ask for a four-week postponement of the case on Monday because his investigation has not been completed.

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