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Relatives of Man Killed in Police Raid Get $12.5 Million

Judgment: Jury award is believed to be a record for California civil suit against law enforcement agency.

March 16, 1999| From Associated Press

FRESNO — The family of a Dinuba man who was shot to death during a police raid has been awarded $12.5 million in a wrongful-death lawsuit.

The civil lawsuit was filed against the city of Dinuba and the officers after Ramon Gallardo Sr. was shot 15 times during a raid at his home on July 11, 1997.

A federal jury awarded $5 million to Gallardo's estate and $5 million to his wife, Carmen, who was in the bedroom with her husband during the raid. She was awarded an additional $150,000 for her unlawful detention by police.

Each of the couple's 13 children were awarded $175,000, and two relatives present during the raid each were awarded $40,000.

Not all the officers involved were held accountable for the shooting, although the jury decided each officer violated the 4th Amendment by unlawful entry into the Gallardo home.

The $12.5-million verdict, returned Friday, is believed to be the largest judgment against law enforcement in a California civil action and one of the largest in the nation. By comparison, a Los Angeles civil jury awarded Rodney King $3.8 million in connection with his 1991 beating by police officers.

The officers were serving a search warrant on Gallardo's home after a jailed informant told investigators that a shotgun used in a gang murder in Visalia had been sold to one of Gallardo's sons. The informant reportedly later recanted the statement.

Police said Gallardo, 64, armed himself with a knife when the officers, wearing camouflage uniforms, hoods and masks, entered the home about 7 a.m.

But lawyer Arturo J. Gonzalez, who represented the family, said no fingerprints were found on the knife that police said Gallardo held.

Police officials said an appeal and a motion for a new trial will be considered.

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