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HomeInternationalL.A. County reaches $8M settlement with family of Andres Guardado

L.A. County reaches $8M settlement with family of Andres Guardado

Los Angeles County officials have reached an $8 million settlement with the family of Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old who was shot five times in the back by a deputy in June 2020. He was working as a security guard at an auto body shop in Gardena at the time.

The settlement comes in response to a wrongful death lawsuit Guardado’s family filed against the county.

Sheriff’s officials have alleged Guardado displayed a handgun when two deputies spotted him talking to someone in a car outside the auto body shop where he was working as a security guard, one of two jobs he had while going to school at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, according to his family.

Guardado then ran away and officers chased him into an alley behind a building where he was killed, sheriff’s officials have said. The officers involved were identified as Deputies Miguel Vega, who opened fire, and Chris Hernandez, who didn’t shoot.

The Los Angeles district attorney’s office has not yet decided whether to file charges against Vega and Hernandez.

“While the settlement reached with the County of Los Angeles brings closure to more than two years of the civil lawsuit, it does not bring with it peace to our family or justice for our son,” Cristobal Guardado, the teen’s father, said in a statement.

Guardado’s settlement was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors alongside four other settlements involving the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

All the settlements combined cost county taxpayers more than $47 million “with a range of extremely disturbing allegations,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell said Tuesday. “We are confronting deputy-involved shootings, in-custody death and excessive use of force claims.”

The largest settlement was awarded to Timothy Neal, who was shot by deputies in 2019 after they breached the door of his bedroom, where he was holding two knives, according to the district attorney’s office review of the incident. He was allegedly having a mental health breakdown at his family’s home in Malibu when the police entered, City News Service reported. Neal, who was left paraplegic, is set to receive $16.5 million.

Prosecutors declined to file charges against the deputies involved in Neal’s case, concluding that they acted in self-defense.

Among the other settlements approved Tuesday was a $16.2 million payment for relatives of Eric Briceno, who died after a violent struggle with sheriff’s deputies in Maywood in 2020, also after family members reported he was having a mental health crisis, City News Service reported.

The county will also pay $5 million to the family of Pedro Lopez, who was struck during a shootout between deputies and a carjacking suspect, and $1.9 million to the family of Rufino Paredes, who died by suicide in the sheriff’s department’s custody, according to county counsel memos.

“With multimillion dollar settlements literally twice a month, I would hope that the department head would take a long hard look at actions and policies of his department and the costly actions of his department before continuing to complain that this board is defunding said department,” Mitchell said in reference to the sheriff’s department.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment. But Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who is facing re-election Tuesday, called the board’s actions and comments about his department “electioneering’’ and “political theater,” City News Service reported.

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Associated Press contributed.

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