School District in California Settles Police Misconduct Lawsuit

Not even four months after Twin Rivers Unified School District was dealt a lawsuit accusing the district’s police officers of brutality and false arrest, the school district has agreed to pay $650,000 in settlement. In the lawsuit, the five plaintiffs claimed that they were arrested in September of 2010 for no reason and taken to the district police station, where one officer allegedly choked three of them. All five plaintiffs were eventually jailed, but no charges were ever filed.

The lawsuit also accused the district’s top managers of encouraging a lethal police environment, which has come to draw negative community attention. As part of the settlement, each of the five plaintiffs’ arrests will be expunged from their records. Each plaintiff was arrested for unclear matters, one for “suspicion of misdemeanor interfering with an officer,” “a slew of felony charges,” and an officer stating that upon pulling up behind one of the plaintiffs’ cars he “felt one of the car’s occupants looking at him.” He followed up by saying that he thought they might have been truants of the school district since there was no school in session that day, but it turned out that each of the five men had been through high school and did not even attend the Twin Rivers district.

Even though the school district was not named a defendant in the case, California law indemnified the defendants and agreed to pay the $650,000 settlement out of its self-insurance funds, which is part of a pool that the Twin Rivers school district is included in.

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