U.S. Department of Justice officials have demanded that Los Angeles County, Lancaster and Palmdale pay a total of $12.5 million to residents who the federal government found were victims of harassment and intimidation in the Antelope Valley.
Times reporter Robert Faturechi will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. to discuss the latest developments.
The demand coincides with last week's accusation by the Justice Department that Antelope Valley authorities conducted a systematic effort to discriminate against African Americans who received low-income subsidized housing and that sheriff's deputies engaged in widespread unlawful searches of homes, improper detentions and unreasonable use of force.
Assistant County Counsel Roger Granbo, describing the Justice Department's position, said the money would go to people whose civil rights were violated when deputies and housing inspectors visited their homes to check on whether they were complying with the Section 8 rental program requirements.
The payments would come from the two cities, the county's Housing Authority and the Sheriff's Department, he said. Granbo said he has already told federal officials that the county has no intention of paying its share of such a large amount of compensation.
He said the county has yet to agree on who, if anyone, would be compensated.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said his city would refuse to pay what he said would amount to at least $10,000 and as much as $40,000 for each person with a claim.
Palmdale released a statement saying that the proposed settlement was between federal and county officials and that the city "has not been asked nor has it agreed to any participation in this proposed settlement." The statement said city officials were concerned by the federal government's accusations and have scheduled a meeting with Sheriff Lee Baca next week to discuss them.
Baca's spokesman, Steve Whitmore, said the sheriff would not comment on the federal government's accusations, with which the department adamantly disagreed. Department of Justice officials could not be reached for comment.