Los Angeles County has paid nearly $24 million to 36 people who were found to have been wrongly arrested and in some cases beaten by sheriff's deputies at a bridal shower in 1989.
In 1995, a jury found that the county deputies had used excessive force and violated the civil rights of the party guests, most of whom were Samoan-Americans. That verdict was upheld in July by the state Supreme Court.At a news conference Tuesday, David Dole received a check from his lawyer for the largest portion of the award, $5.8 million.
"It's a bittersweet victory," said Dole, who was kicked and beaten about the head and body. He was hospitalized and said he suffered brain damage and broken bones. The other awards ranged down to $57,000.
Vina Camper, coordinator for Police Watch, a Los Angeles group that tracks police misconduct, said the civil rights judgment was the largest ever returned by a jury against law enforcement in California. The City of Los Angeles settled the Rodney King beating case for $3.8 million.
A videotape of the deputies at the party, made by a neighbor and shown repeatedly on local television, proved to be crucial evidence in the trial. It showed dozens of deputies swinging batons, kicking and hitting the partygoers, who appeared to be offering little resistance.