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Council to Pay for Care of Wounded Bystander

March 01, 1997

Calling it the "right thing to do," the Los Angeles City Council agreed Friday to spend $50,000 to pay for the medical bills of a bystander who was wounded when police shot and killed three robbery suspects in Northridge.

The payment, however, does not settle the lawsuit filed by attorneys for Grover Wilson Smith, 20, who was shot Tuesday in the leg by an elite but controversial squad of Los Angeles police detectives.

Officers from the Special Investigation Section shot Smith after they followed and confronted an alleged group of robbers they suspected of robbing a Northridge bar.

Smith was not involved in the robbery, police later determined. He also did not have medical insurance and could not pay for his care at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

"'The city wants to ensure that he gets continued medical care," said Councilwoman Laura Chick, chairwoman of the council's Public Safety Committee who recommended making the payment.

"It's just the right thing to do," said Councilman Mike Feuer, a member of the committee.

The funds for Smith's medical bills were requested by the Police Department and were diverted from a police overtime account.

Stephen Yagman, a civil rights attorney who filed a suit Thursday on Smith's behalf, called the offer "too little, too late."

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