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L.A. County Sheriff Settles Two Jail Excessive Force Suits For $135,000

Los Angeles (L.A.) County settled two civil rights complaints arising from alleged excessive use of force on prisoners in the L.A. County Jail. In January 2005, Jerry Moreno, a prisoner at the Pitchess Detention Facility (North) was brandishing two long metal frame pieces taken from a lighting fixture in his cell. He had to be forcefully extracted from his cell by the sheriffs Emergency Response Team. After firing two pepper balls at Moreno, sheriffs deputies Tasered him, allowing them to grab him off the upper bunk. The still struggling Moreno struck his head on the bunk. He was Tasered again, pending the paramedics arrival. In the ambulance ride to the hospital, Moreno apparently repositioned himself on his stomach causing him to go into cardiac arrest from which he died. Estimating a potential $650,000 exposure, L.A. County settled with his family for $75,000. See: Moreno v. County of Los Angeles, USDC CDCA, Case No. CV-06787.

Separately, in December 2004, Desmond Pryer was in the North County jail on drug charges. Pryer refused to get up for chow, and deputies suspected a medical problem. When they escorted him to a dayroom, he started an altercation with deputies. One deputy struck Pryer with his flashlight four times in the upper leg, fracturing the femur bone. Pryer continues to have pain and a permanently impaired gait from his injuries. To avoid a projected $250,000 exposure on Pryers excessive force claim, the County settled for $60,000. See: Pryer v. County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC 338035.

Both Pryers and Morenos claims were settled in May 2006.

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Related legal cases

Moreno v. County of Los Angeles

Pryer v. County of Los Angeles