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LA Pays $2.8 Million to Settle Seven Police Corruption Lawsuits

February 19, 2002
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LA Pays $2.8 Million to Settle Seven Police Corruption Lawsuits

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - City Council members agreed to settle seven lawsuits filed by victims of the Rampart police corruption scandal for $2.8 million.

Two of the seven victims allegedly were framed by disgraced anti-gang officer Rafael Perez, who has admitted to the misconduct.

"These are the most difficult cases to deal with because they involve police abuse," Councilman Nick Pacheco said. "These cases are very painful in terms of the fact that people had their civil rights violated."

Settlements reached Tuesday included $475,000 to William Zepeda, who pleaded guilty in 1998 to selling cocaine and was sentenced to two years in prison. The conviction was dismissed after Perez came forward.

Oscar Ochoa, who was allegedly framed by Perez and another officer, also will receive $475,000. He pleaded guilty to cocaine possession and was sentenced to three years in prison. His conviction was later dismissed.

Samuel Bailey, whom Perez admitted framing for the crime of being an ex-felon with a gun, also received $475,000. Bailey's trial was disrupted when the defendant yelled that Perez was a liar. He later pleaded guilty in return for a lighter sentence of two years, eight months. His conviction was later overturned.

The rest went to four people whose convictions also were reversed.

Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski said the city has so far paid about $35 million to resolve about 75 cases stemming from the scandal that broke in 1999. More than 100 convictions have been thrown out amid accusations anti-gang officers in the city's largely minority Rampart section shot, beat and planted evidence on innocent people, then lied in court to help convict them.

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