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Santa Clara County settles alleged jail beating case for $3.6 million as deputies await criminal trial

Santa Clara County has agreed to pay $3.6 million to settle civil claims in the death of a mentally ill man who authorities say was beaten to death last year by jail deputies.

The family of Michael Tyree reached the deal as the deputies await criminal trails, said Paula Canny, an attorney representing the Tyree’s sisters.

The deputies — Matthew Farris, Jereh Lubrin and Rafael Rodriguez — all face first-degree murder charges and are currently free on $1.5 million bail each, Canny said.

“No amount of money can ever bring Michael back,” Canny said, “so it’s bittersweet.”

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Officials said Tyree, 31, died Aug. 27, 2015, of internal bleeding due to trauma. When the deputies were arrested a week later, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith described the alleged beating as “heinous and cowardly.”

At the time, Tyree was being held on misdemeanor drug and theft charges and was being housed in a wing of the main jail for those in protective custody or who have special needs. While in sheriff’s custody, Tyree was waiting for a bed to open at a residential treatment program.

Lubrin, Farris and Rodriguez were the last three people to have contact with Tyree before Lubrin radioed that they had found Tyree unresponsive in his sixth-floor cell of the jail in San Jose.

The deputies’ criminal trials are scheduled to begin early next year, Canny said.

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matt.stevens@latimes.com

Twitter: @ByMattStevens

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