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Judge approves $750,000 settlement for girl whose father was slain by Inglewood police

Postal worker Kevin Wicks, 38, was shot and killed in July 2008. The city has paid out $1.25 million in the case.

November 02, 2010|By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times

A federal judge on Monday approved a $750,000 settlement for a 13-year-old girl whose father was shot and killed by Inglewood police officers in 2008.

The death of 38-year-old Kevin Wicks, a postal worker, sparked protests and criticism of the department at the time because the officer who fired the shots had been involved in a fatal shooting of an unarmed suspect two months earlier and had been allowed to return to duty.

That officer, Brian Ragan, is no longer employed by the department, said Lt. Oscar Serrano, a police spokesman. He declined to give details, saying he could not discuss personnel matters, but said the officer's separation from the department about a month ago was not related to his involvement in the shootings.

The settlement approved Monday brings the city's payout arising from the July 2008 shooting to $1.25 million. The city earlier this year agreed to pay $500,000 to Wicks' younger daughter, who was a toddler at the time of her father's death.

According to court papers, $50,000 of the settlement approved Monday will go to LaShawn Brown, the mother of the 13-year-old.

"Although no amount of money will ever bring back her father…she will be well taken care of for the rest of her life," said attorney John Sweeney, who represented Wicks' family.

According to law enforcement records, Inglewood officers responded to Wicks' apartment shortly after midnight based on a 911 call reporting a man and woman fighting. When officers knocked on the door, Wicks opened the door with a gun in his right hand, the officers later said. Ragan shot Wicks twice in the chest.

Attorneys representing Wicks' family contended that Wicks had not posed a threat to officers because the gun did not have a bullet in the chamber and could not have been immediately fired by pulling the trigger.

Wicks' niece, who lived in the same building, told authorities that the couple who was fighting may have entered an empty unit just east of Wicks' apartment, according to the records.

In May 2008, Ragan was also involved in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Michael Byoune, who was unarmed and with friends at a hamburger stand. The city paid $2.45 million to settle lawsuits resulting from that shooting.

victoria.kim@latimes.com

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