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Florida Sheriff Approves $2 Million Settlement in Death of Deputy

Florida’s Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) has agreed to a $2 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by the family of a deputy who was killed in the line of duty. That lawsuit claimed the deputy died because BCSO failed to follow its own policies during a botched 2004 raid.

Sheriff Al Lamberti, in announcing the settlement, acknowledged that a special weapons unit, commonly known as a SWAT team, should have been utilized to execute an arrest warrant for Kenneth Wilk, a child porn suspect who was known to be armed and hated police. A SWAT team had been used a month earlier to search Wilk’s home for child pornography. At that time, Kelly Ray Jones, Wilk’s partner, was arrested.

BCSO’s plans to raid the home warned of guns in the home. Wilk had a gun on him during the previous search and he had several previous run-ins with police. When police came knocking at his door to arrest him on August 19, 2004, Wilk armed himself with a Winchester rifle. He shot Detective Todd Fatta in the chest, killing him, and he wounded Sgt. Angelo Cedeño. Wilk was subsequently convicted by a federal jury of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

The September 4, 2008 settlement provides for the BCSO to pay the statutory maximum of $200,000 to Fatta’s parents and for it to endorse a $1.8 million claims bill for the State Legislature’s approval. On April 24, 2009, the Florida Senate voted 30-6 to approve the claims bill. The House is expected to endorse the settlement as well. Source: Sun Sentinel.

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