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$825,000 Proposed for Union Activist Injured by Police

January 25, 1991|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Dolores Huerta, the labor leader critically injured by baton-swinging police officers during a 1988 protest, will receive $825,000 if a record settlement is approved by city officials.

The San Francisco Police Commission's settlement offer would be the largest police misconduct settlement ever in the city, if approved by the Board of Supervisors and signed by Mayor Art Agnos.

Huerta, a 61-year-old United Farm Workers vice president, joined six others in filing a $24-million civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco after they were injured during the protest. The proposed settlement would affect only Huerta's claim.

The case stems from a rally outside a San Francisco hotel, where Huerta joined others to protest then-Vice President George Bush's opposition to the UFW's grape boycott.

Huerta, about five feet tall and 100 pounds, was caught in a crowd as a line of officers advanced, thrusting batons to clear the crowd. She suffered six broken ribs, a pulverized spleen and required more than a dozen blood transfusions.

The lawsuit alleged that the city has "tolerated and permitted a pattern of abuse by the San Francisco police, and has failed to discipline the officers involved or provide appropriate training or supervision."

Since then, the police force has changed its rules regarding police discipline and crowd control methods.

The Huerta case prompted three internal police investigations, three criminal grand jury inquiries, three supervisors' hearings and three probes by the Office of Citizen Complaints, the city's civilian police watchdog group.

Two shake-ups of police brass also resulted.

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