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LOS ANGELES CITY HALL JOURNAL

A summary of selected City Hall actions last week affecting central Los Angeles. : CITY COUNCIL

August 06, 1995|MICHAEL KRIKORIAN

POLICE SETTLEMENT: Authorized the city attorney to pay a $138,645 settlement to a man who suffered serious injuries when he was attacked by a Los Angeles Police Department dog. In 1989, authorities say, Gabriel Ruvalcaba went to the Mayan Theater at 1038 S. Hill St. and threatened to kill two janitors with a pipe. Responding to an emergency call, police found Ruvalcaba hiding in the dark theater. A police dog helped Officer Martin Coon take Ruvalcaba into custody. The plaintiff received two dog bites on his forearm, two fractured ribs and a punctured lung. He was hospitalized for several days, then released without being charged. Ruvalcaba filed a lawsuit alleging false arrest and charging that police used excessive force. The case went to court, where a jury awarded the plaintiff $72,557 and his attorneys $66,088. Though the city could appeal the decision, the city attorney decided that settling the case would be in the city's best interest. This case was one of the main reasons the Police Department adopted the "find and bark" policy for police dogs.

* ELECTRIC STATION: Due to intense public opposition, the City Council delayed a decision to establish an electric power distributing station in a neighborhood near Western and Melrose avenues. More then 550 residents opposed the power station, which the Department of Water and Power plans to build on half an acre at 4914-4928 Maplewood Ave. The Department of Water and Power says that with the growth in the neighborhood, the station is needed to prevent overloading of existing stations. However, neighborhood residents complained that the station would reduce property values because of concerns that electromagnetic fields pose health risks. The department plans to present a more extensive report on the issue.

* PEPPER SPRAY: Approved a public safety committee report that recommended the city apply for a $217,000 federal grant to study the use of pepper spray. If the grant is approved, the Police Department will conduct a field evaluation to determine the effectiveness of pepper spray, and evaluate humanistic and legal concerns.

* COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS: Approved $2,200 from the general fund to support several community service organizations: Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA ($350), Boyle Heights Youth Football ($200), Highland Park Chamber of Commerce ($100), La Sinfonica del Barrio ($300), MTM International Sports Organization ($500), Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance ($500) and City Terrace Coordinating Council's Creative Thinking Program ($250).

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