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IN BRIEF / LOS ANGELES

$1 Million in Payments OKd in Police Shootings

October 31, 2002|From Times Staff Reports

The city and county of Los Angeles approved payments totaling more than $1 million to settle lawsuits stemming from two separate police shootings, officials said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved payment of $925,000 in the lawsuit of Grover Smith of Northridge, a bystander shot in the leg nearly six years ago by officers who mistook him for a robbery suspect.

Smith's attorney, Stephen Yagman, denied that the lawsuit is settled, and called the allocation "wishful thinking" by the council and the city attorney's office.

The county Board of Supervisors approved a settlement of $200,000 for the next-door neighbors of a Stevenson Ranch man killed in a fiery Aug. 31, 2001, gun battle with federal agents and sheriff's deputies. The officials were trying to serve a search warrant on James Allen Beck, who barricaded himself in his home and opened fire on the officers, killing Deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian.

The county will pay $167,500 to Phil and Marilyn Lombardi, who were forced to hide in their bathroom with their day-old daughter Gianna after sheriff's deputies mistook their house for Beck's and fired more than 100 rounds into it.

The county also approved payment of $32,500 to neighbor Steve Rizzo and his 4-year-old daughter, who waited trapped in their home for several hours.

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