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California Briefing / RIVERSIDE COUNTY

Claim is filed in Soboba death

August 19, 2008|David Kelly

A lawyer for the family of a Soboba tribe member killed by Riverside County sheriff's deputies in a gunfight in May filed a legal claim against the county Monday saying the woman was unarmed and a victim of unreasonable and excessive force.

Attorney Jack Schwartz said Tamara Hurtado, 29, died as a result of poor training of the deputies and a bias against her because she was Native American. He filed the claim with the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and says he will follow up with a federal lawsuit if they do not act.

Schwartz is seeking damages for loss of "love, comfort, support and society" of Hurtado along with further damages including funeral and medical expenses.

Schwartz filed a similar claim recently on behalf of Gordon Davis Arres, 26. Arres was a Soboba member shot dead in December after running from deputies following a traffic stop in Hemet. Authorities say they fired after he reached into his waistband for a gun which they said was later recovered. Schwartz said Arres was unarmed.

Three tribe members were killed in gunfights or altercations with deputies in May. The deaths have led to increased tensions between the tribe and law enforcement. Riverside County Sheriff Stanley Sniff has accused tribal security officers of hindering access to the reservation and has threatened them with arrest.

-- David Kelly

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