Los Angeles County officials approved settlements Wednesday in five cases of alleged misconduct by sheriff's deputies, agreeing to pay a total of $232,500 in out-of-court settlements.
The county Claims Board also recommended that the Board of Supervisors award a total of $450,000 to two Latino men who suffered head injuries in what officials said was a scuffle with baton-wielding deputies at a Norwalk home.
Guadalupe Juarez, was 63 at the time of the Norwalk incident, and his son, Hector, was 23. The elder Juarez sustained cuts and his son received a skull fracture that caused serious neurological damage, officials said.
The settlements were approved a month after retired Superior Court Judge James G. Kolts delivered a highly critical report on brutality in the Sheriff's Department, finding "disturbing evidence of excessive force and lax discipline" among deputies.
Nancy Singer, a representative of the Auditor-Controller's office on the Claims Board, said the settlements were "reasonable considering the circumstances."
The Claims Board has the authority to approve claims for less than $100,000. Larger claims must be approved by the Board of Supervisors.
The claims approved Wednesday were:
* $45,000 to Edwardo Arrellano, an inmate burned with hot water that was thrown by a deputy during a disturbance at the Los Angeles County Jail on Dec. 30, 1990. The deputy was relieved of duty the next day.
* $30,000 to Victor and Vivian Ruiz of Whittier, who were injured in a July, 1987, scuffle with deputies responding to reports of a domestic dispute. Victor Ruiz suffered a fractured wrist. Vivian, his wife, suffered a black eye.
* $40,000 to Debra Santos of Redondo Beach, the owner of a burglar alarm business who was arrested in May, 1990, by deputies acting on a tip that turned out to be based on unreliable information.
* $47,500 to Arturo Reyes and others at an East Los Angeles house party in November, 1989, where deputies arrested three people after responding to complaints about loud music.
* $70,000 to James Frederick Martin, who was shot in the jaw by a deputy during a routine traffic stop in Lynwood in November, 1987. The deputy saw a gun in the car, officials said. Although the facts in the case were in dispute, officials recommended a settlement "in the best interest of the county."