The Associated Press
PHOENIX — An Arizona county will pay $2 million to a Louisiana man who claims he was shot in the eye in a road rage incident involving two of the county's deputies who were working in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to approve the payment to settle a lawsuit, The Arizona Republic reported.
"It was a business decision made to minimize taxpayer expense," board spokeswoman Cari Gerchick said.
The deputies were among members of the Phoenix-based sheriff's office who flew to Louisiana to help that state in the aftermath of the devastating hurricane in September 2005.
According to a complaint filed in federal court in Louisiana in 2006, Richard Naquin Jr. was working rescue and relief operations for an environmental contractor in Orleans Parish when the road rage incident with the two deputies occurred on Sept. 6, 2005.
Naquin was driving on a highway outside New Orleans when an unmarked SUV pulled up alongside his vehicle.
Naquin claimed someone in the passenger side of the SUV rolled down the window and pointed a rifle at him. He said he saw no indication the men in the SUV were law enforcement officers, so he feared the worst and sped off.
Naquin said in the complaint that the SUV followed him and activated its emergency lights under the grill, then stopped behind him at an intersection.
He got out of his vehicle and asked the SUV's occupants what they wanted and then was shot in the left eye, the complaint alleges. Naquin claims his eye is damaged beyond repair and that he'll need a prosthetic eyeball.
The deputy who shot Naquin is no longer employed by the sheriff's office, according to The Republic.
The county wouldn't discuss the specifics of the complaint, and the sheriff's office didn't immediately return an after-hours call seeking comment.
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Gerchick referred further questions to Maricopa County Risk Manager Peter Crowley, who said officials felt it was in the county's best interest to settle the suit.