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L.A. County approves $750,000 settlement with family of man fatally shot by deputy

August 31, 2010 |  2:07 pm

A $750,000 settlement was approved Tuesday for the relatives of an unarmed man shot and killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy in July 2008 in front of his family’s home.

Christian Portillo, 35, was sitting in his car in the driveway of the Lennox residence when two deputies approached because they believed he was a drug dealer.

Sheriff’s officials said Portillo was startled and reached under his seat, prompting one deputy to fire two rounds into the suspect’s upper torso.

The killing drew outrage, particularly from Portillo’s family, which said the man had done nothing wrong. No weapons or drugs were found in his car.

On Tuesday, the family’s attorney said the settlement would offer closure.

“This has been devastating to the parents,” said attorney Franklin Casco. “They were present. They were running up to the driveway when the shots were being fired.”

 

The deputy who shot Portillo was disciplined for a tactics violation, not the shooting, a source with knowledge of the investigation said.

Casco acknowledged the settlement was modest compared with that of other cases. A month ago the county doled out more than $2 million to a man who survived but was paralyzed after being shot by a deputy in Compton.

The attorney said Portillo’s prior drug conviction made them wary of taking a chance with a jury trial.

“Sometimes peace is better than war,” he said.

-- Robert Faturechi

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